A former adviser affiliated with LPL Financial LLC has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of defrauding investors and stealing $2 million from at least six clients.
According to the civil complaint, former LPL adviser Blake Richards misappropriated client money that “constituted retirement savings and/or life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses.”
In once instance, Richards allegedly tried to gain an investor’s trust by delivering pain medication during a snowstorm to a client’s husband who had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, according to the SEC complaint.
As reported May 23 by Investment News, the charges against Richards follow recent negative news about LPL. Earlier this week, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined LPL $7.5 million in connection to 35 separate e-mail system failures.
One day later, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin announced that LPL had been ordered to pay $4.8 million in restitution to investors over improper sales of non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITS).
LPL is not named in the recent SEC complaint against Richards.
According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck Web site, Richards worked as an LPL broker from May 2009 until May 2013.
Reportedly, when investors approached Richards with funds to invest from a retirement account rollover or proceeds from a life insurance policy, he allegedly instructed them to write out checks to an entity called “Blake Richards Investments” or “BMO Investments.”