Rhonda Breard’s conscience may have finally caught up with her. The former ING investment broker has been under investigation for fraud on allegations that she bilked clients out of millions of dollars. On March 2, the disgraced investment advisor and TV personality reportedly tried to take her life.
Breard’s alleged actions came to the attention of regulators in February 2010 after she was fired by ING Financial Partners for reportedly “altering customer statements.” On March 10, federal prosecutors officially charged Breard, 47, with mail fraud. According to the criminal complaint, Breard accepted millions of dollars from investors, telling them that their money would be placed in a variety of financial and insurance products.
Instead, investigators say she used the money for her own expenses and mailed phony statements to clients.
A preliminary investigation by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) indicates that investors could be out more than $8 million. According to the DFI, Breard’s ability to act as a broker was terminated in nine states, including Washington and Oregon, on Feb. 10.
Breard, who also goes by the names Dean Tucker and Rhonda Lee Dean, is the owner of Kirkland-based Breard Associates and Wealth Management.
Breard isn’t the only one facing scrutiny. As her supervisor, ING also may also be held liable for investors’ financial losses because of its alleged supervisory failures.
Some of the investors affected by Breard’s alleged scheme include fifth-grade teacher Sandee Gren, who had plans to retire in the near future. Now, with half of her retirement account, roughly $300,000, gone, those plans are in peril.
“I stood in that woman’s office pouring my heart out about how I’ve been a single parent, how I’d just lost my daughter and I needed to know what to do with my stocks,” says Gren.
Records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) show a long and lengthy list of complaints and enforcement actions against Breard during the course of her investment career.
In 1991, Breard was allowed to resign from Smith Barney because of unauthorized trading of clients’ accounts. In 1992, she faced similar allegations and was fined $15,000. In 1993, while employed at Prudential Securities, Breard settled a complaint against her for $74,493.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, and the FBI are continuing their investigation of Breard.
Maddox Hargett & Caruso P.C. is launching its own investigation into investors’ allegations against Rhonda Breard. If you suffered investment losses through Breard, contact us with your story. You may have a claim for recovery.