The US District Court of the Northern District of Georgia ordered former LPL Financial LLC broker Blake Bancroft Richards to pay approximately $2 million in disgorgement and penalties to clients bilked in a misappropriation scheme.
The findings state that elderly and widowed investors were amongst the affected clients and that the majority of funds invested were from retirement savings or deceased spouses' life insurance benefits.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges in 2013, alleging that Richards instructed several clients to write checks to "Blake Richards Investments" and "BMO Investments," both entities he controlled. Richards purportedly stated the funds would be invested in fixed-income investments, equities or variable annuities.
The SEC alleged that instead of investing the funds as advertised, Richards misappropriated the entire amounts for personal use, leaving the customers fake account statements despite the fact that "none of the investments" appeared on brokerage account statements and Richards earned no commission income.
According to Richards' FINRA BrokerCheck, previous customers from LPL and prior employing firm Ameriprise Advisor Services, Inc. filed multiple complaints against Richards, resulting in settlements in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
FINRA barred Richards in 2013 for refusing to cooperate with the regulator's investigation into charges related to the SEC case for investment fraud in Atlanta.
If you have invested with Blake Bancroft Richards or with any broker or investment advisor whose misappropriation of funds, misrepresentation and fabrication of statements, or other failure to properly manage investments 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.
News: Ex-LPL broker to pay nearly $2 million for defrauding clients (InvestmentNews)