It's All In The Name:
The SEC recently charged Robert Ray White Samples, principal of Pot O' Gold Financial Services in Denver, Colo., with misappropriating more than $1 million from 31 investors through two fraudulent investment schemes. The complaint alleges that Samples offered and sold $1 million worth of Pot O' Gold's private capital accounts to the public, assuring investors the monies would be pooled together, and invested in primarily fixed-income securities, as well as an auto-loan program under Samples' management. The SEC also alleges Samples gathered as much as $65,000 from investors for POG's Investment Club, which he told investors he put in brokerage accounts for investment in securities, which he would then manage for a fee. Instead, the SEC says Samples spent the money on a new home, two timeshare condominiums, cars and personal credit card debt. A federal district court has frozen POG's assets, and ordered an accounting while the investigation continues.
Profiting From Tragedy:
Former MetLife broker Kevin Dunn was indicted in October for his participation in a scheme to defraud the widow of a man who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 out of the approximately $2 million settlement benefit she received from a victim's fund. Dunn, a long-time friend of the victim, allegedly helped her set up a brokerage and annuity account with his firm after she asked for investment advice. Prosecutors say Dunn allegedly defrauded the widow out of $250,000 over the next several years. On more than one occasion he told her something was wrong with her account, and that she should withdraw some funds, send him a blank check and he would remedy the problem. Prosecutors say he put the money in his own account instead, even opened a joint MetLife account with his and her name on it, forged her signature, and used a different address so that the victim wouldn't receive any brokerage statements. Dunn faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted of mail and wire fraud.
Some 2,700 female Morgan Stanley advisors and trainees (oh, and their lawyers) just got $46 million richer. A federal judge approved settlement of the class action lawsuit six months after the women settled with the firm. The plaintiffs' case, which says the firm discriminated against women with respect to account distributions, compensation, training and promotions, covers those women who worked at Morgan Stanley between August 5, 2003 and June 30, 2007. Morgan Stanley says it will institute programs designed to advance the success of female financial advisors at the firm.