Two months after his arrest for stealing from an elderly investor, FINRA barred former Ameriprise Financial Services and Voya Financial Advisors broker James "Jim" Edward Knee following an investigation into allegations that Knee misappropriated customer funds while registered with the firms; FINRA barred Knee after he failed to cooperate with FINRA's investigation pertaining to Knee's financial relationship with an elderly client.
As for the arrest, the New Hampshire Attorney General announced that Knee, while serving as a financial adviser to his elderly victim, obtained funds from his 78-year-old customer and instead of investing them on his client's behalf, outright stole the senior citizen's money.
AWC #2016050984801 | NH DOJ News Release on James Knee's Theft by Misapplication Arrest
In August 2016, the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation issued an interim consent order pertaining to Knee (CRD #1852920)—whom Voya Financial likewise discharged in August 2016 for failing to cooperate with the firm's internal investigation regarding receipt of a cash gift from a customer—and Sterling Financial Services, LLC in which investigators detailed their findings.
Specifically, according to the NH document, a 78-year-old customer wrote several checks made out to Knee personally and totaling at least $205,000. While Knee claimed these funds were an unsolicited gift, the NH Bureau contends that Knee's "gift" explanation is incorrect and "remains concerned that Knee is unlawfully in possession of [the elderly client's] funds, and possibly other funds."
As such, the Bureau ordered that Knee and Sterling not convert, sequester, transfer, or sell any assets received from any Voya clients, that Knee not to have any contact or communication with his elderly client, and that Knee not dissipate any of the funds he obtained after the order was issued.
Less than two years later, US Customs authorities at Logan Airport arrested Knee in Boston on a charge of theft by misapplication as Knee attempted to re-enter the United States from Mexico, having previously resided in Ukraine.
If you have invested with former Voya Financial Advisors representative James Edward Knee or with any broker or financial adviser who has misappropriated or converted funds by failing to invest your money as promised, or by deliberately misrepresenting your investment as an unsolicited gift, and this theft 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.