SEC Bars Lauramarie Colangelo for Helping Tarek Bahgat Misappropriate Client Funds Under Guise of Paying Senior Citizens' Internet Bills

Attorney Advising Disclaimer

The SEC instituted administrative proceedings ordering former WealthCFO operations manager Lauramarie Colangelo barred from the securities industry in relation to an action against WealthCFO, LLC and its owner Tarek "Terry" Dean Bahgat. FINRA, meanwhile, barred Bahgat in March 2018 for failing to comply with an arbitration award or to satisfactorily respond to an information request.

In 2017, SEC filed a complaint against Bahgat (CRD #1569518), who now lives in Egypt, for misappropriating money from seven clients, including many senior citizens. Investigators found that Baghat obtained the ability to pay for some of his clients' internet bills and, under the guise of paying on his clients' behalf, impersonated his clients in telephone calls with customer service reps and broker-dealers holding the clients' accounts, and caused the brokerages to transfer money from his clients' accounts to accounts that Baghat himself owned or controlled, including those at Baghat's WealthCFO firm.

For example, Bahgat allegedly misappropriated $110,000 from a 77-year-old retired doctor by impersonating or otherwise inappropriately accessing his client's brokerage accounts at Cambridge Investment Research Inc. and, later, at Gradient Securities, were Bahgat was then-affiliated. The findings indicate that Bahgat's elderly client did not authorize these transfers and did not consent to Bahgat's conduct; Bahgat, meanwhile, failed to disclose his actions and breached his fiduciary duty to this and other clients who experienced similar fraudulent acts.

The findings state that Bahgat eventually did tell one client from whom he misappropriated $196,703.51 that he had taken money from the client's account because Bahgat was in financial distress, and then promised to repay the money (Bahgat eventually fled the country without having repaid his client).

Bahgat purportedly convinced another elderly client to write a $40,000 check payable to WealthCFO, and then proceeded to commingle and misappropriate the $40,000 for personal use while investing none of the $40,000 and instead manufacturing a fictitious "Harbortoch Note Receivable" to portray that he had invested the money in a securities product when Bahgat had, instead, stolen the money.

According to the SEC document, Bahgat misappropriated approximately $378,000 from his clients as a result of these impersonations, either through his or Colangelo's impersonation of customers of Bahgat's then-firm. Bahgat was associated with Cambridge Investment Research Inc. from 2010 to 2015, and Gradient Securities LLC from 2015 through 2016.

If you have invested with Tarek "Terry" Dean Bahgat's WealthCFO business or with any other broker or financial adviser who has misappropriated or converted your funds for unauthorized personal use through impersonation or other fake and fraudulent means, thus harming your investments and interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.

Related Posts
  • Stifel Nicolaus Facing Massive Controversy, $24.5 Million Damages Claims, Over Unsuitable Structured Product Sales Read More
  • LPL Financial's Gregory Collins Cited for Failing to Disclose Side Gigs, Including Hedge Fund Role Read More
  • Westpark Capital's Nicholas Tocco Sanctioned for AML Compliance, Supervisory Failures Read More