FINRA barred former Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. financial advisor Jo Ellen Fisher for allegedly misappropriating almost $1 million from an elderly client by converting funds without the customer's authorization, knowledge or consent.
According to the findings, Fisher transferred the funds from the 95-year-old customer's trust account to the brokerage account of Fisher's daughter, all without the customer's authorization.
The investigation also states that Fisher transferred and then liquidated multiple securities from the trust account, using the proceeds to purchase a 2014 Ford Explorer truck, three cars, multiple Rolex watches and expensive jewelry including a 2-caret diamond solitaire ring and pearl necklace, and other personal expenses, including house repairs and full payment of a home mortgage.
FINRA found that in order to effect the scheme, Fisher provided Raymond James with a fake "Godparent's Certificate," falsifying client notes to create the incorrect appearance that Fisher's daughter was the elderly client's goddaughter when no such relationship existed.
Furthermore, Fisher allegedly claimed that the elderly client intended to gift the transferred securities and gifts to "his goddaughter" when the customer had no such intention.
Investigators discovered that Fisher initially took over the 95-year-old client's living trust and brokerage account in March 2013. By July 2013, however, Fisher allegedly began her misconduct by transferring thousands of shares of Glincher Realty Trust, Blackrock Core Bond Trust, AT&T and Bob Evans Farms from the elderly client's account to the account in the name of Fisher's daughter.
By December 2013, Fisher had allegedly engaged in a series of these unauthorized transactions without her 95-year-old client's consent or knowledge, and, once the funds were in her daughter's account, Fisher liquidated the great majority of those funds. The findings state that approximately $50,000 was then transferred to a bank account owned jointly by Fisher and her husband.
As a result of Fisher's continued false on-the-record testimony—Fisher maintained during interviews with FINRA staff that her daughter was indeed her customer's goddaughter until confronted with evidence to the contrary, at which point Fisher refused to continue testifying—FINRA found Fisher in violation of multiple rules of conduct, including conversion of securities and funds, providing false and misleading documents, and providing false and misleading testimony and refusing to testify.
If you have invested with Jo Ellen Fisher, Raymond James Financial or with any financial advisor, broker or firm whose misrepresentations, unauthorized transfers or other activity in your account, or production of fabricated documents has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.