After $2.4 Million Suit Alleging Elder Abuse, FINRA Bars James Schaedler Following $200k Gift Investigation

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FINRA barred former Wells Fargo Clearing (Anaheim, CA) representative James Robert Schaedler, Jr. after he failed to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that he inappropriately became the beneficiary of an elderly customer's $2.3 million estate through improper conduct against his nonagenarian client, and that he accepted a $200,000 gift from a second elderly customer.

An earlier lawsuit against Schaedler's former employer, Merrill Lynch, sought $2.4 million and alleged financial elder abuse and negligent supervision. The suit claimed that Schaedler's 96-year-old client had expressed to witnesses "her fear of Mr. Schaedler" before she passed away.

AWC #2016048560401

The investigation states that Schaedler (CRD #4264512) consented to FINRA's entry of findings, without admitting or denying them, that he exercised influence over a former elderly client, who amended her trust and made Schaedler a partial beneficiary and residual beneficiary of her $2.3 million estate.

Prior to his association with Wells Fargo in Anaheim, Schaedler worked for Merrill Lynch in Santa Ana and Banc of America Investment Services in Irvine, CA.

In December 2015, a Seal Beach-based charity (The Los Angeles Thoracic and Cardiovascular Foundation) sued Merrill Lynch for $2.4 million, alleging financial elder abuse and negligent supervision of investment adviser James Schaedler, stating that, "seizing on her vulnerability, Mr. Schaedler systematically insinuated himself into [96-year-old Juanita] Earley's personal life."

The suit claimed that prior to her death, Schaedler made a slew of changes in the elderly Earley's life, including changing her doctor against her wishes, isolating Earley from her family and friends, putting her into a nursing home while claiming to be her conservator, and ordering that the facility not allow her to take calls or have visitors.

The suit claimed that Earley was declared incompetent by a facility physician approximately one month after amending her trust in Schaedler's favor.

After Earley died in 2012, Schaedler purportedly received approximately $2.4 million from her trust and "attested to a spending spree of hundreds of thousands of dollars," according to the charity's complaint.

Worst of all, the suit claimed that before she died, Earley "expressed to at least two disinterested witnesses her fear of Mr. Schaedler and her distress at having been pressured to change key documents."

Wells Fargo terminated Schaedler's employment in January 2017 upon allegations that Schaedler's daughter received $200,000 via a check from a second elderly client, with a majority of those funds making their way to Schaedler himself shortly thereafter. After those allegations came to light, FINRA expanded its investigation to include this allegedly improper gift.

Schaedler's BrokerCheck report also lists several investment property outside business activities, including the Don Lagos Investment Property in Corona, and Jurupa Investment Properties in Riverside, California. He most recently was associated with Millennium Brokerage Group, LLC as an independent insurance agent.

If you have invested with Southern California rep James Robert Schaedler or with any broker or financial adviser whose acceptance of a prohibited gift or improper influence or elder abuse—such as isolating a senior citizen from his/her family and friends while changing his/her trust or will to name the broker as a beneficiary—has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.

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