Investors who suffered losses due to misconduct by financial advisor Ralph Savoie (CRD# 411660) may be able to recover their losses in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). On March 26, 2018, Mr. Savoie plead guilty in Louisiana federal court to stealing up to $1.5 million from clients, using their monies for personal expenses including jewelry, hotels, and credit card bills, as well as to pay off previous clients in Ponzi-fashion in connection with prior purported investment opportunities. Mr. Savoie allegedly guaranteed his clients high rates of returns on various investments in securities and insurance products, describing the investments as a “sure thing.” In actuality, however, Mr. Savoie allegedly engaged in misconduct by using these funds on personal expenses, to pay prior clients and to funnel money into a “risky real estate venture.”
According to public records, Mr. Savoie of Mandeville, LA, was formerly associated with Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. (CRD# 134139) (“Cambridge”) in their Metairie, LA, branch office, until on or about August 11, 2015, at which time Mr. Savoie was discharged from his employment with Cambridge as a registered representative. Mr. Savoie’s career in the securities industry is lengthy and dates back to the early 1970’s, including his most recent stint at Cambridge from 2013 until August 2015.
According to publicly available information through FINRA, Mr. Savoie was discharged from his employment with Cambridge due to his alleged failure to “[d]isclose and receive approval for an outside business activity.” Further, FINRA reports that Mr. Savoie has been subject to six customer disputes, including three that remain pending and three that have resulted in settlement. A number of these disputes center on allegations concerning Mr. Savoie’s purported sales of “unsuitable, illiquid, expensive, private placements.”
As our office has discussed in previous blog posts, private placements are, in general, a risky investment proposition. To begin, private placements carry considerable risk (investors should be prepared to lose their entire investment), often are complex in nature, and typically are opaque insofar as investors only have limited information off which to make an ultimate decision as to whether an investment is warranted (as unregistered securities, private placements do not provide the same scope and depth of information as with other investments, such as publicly traded, registered stocks or mutual funds). The majority of private placements are offered pursuant to Regulation D (“Reg D”), an SEC regulation that allows private companies to raise capital without conducting a public offering.
Brokerage firms like Cambridge have a duty to ensure that their registered representatives are adequately supervised, a duty which includes monitoring their brokers in connection with outside business activities and/or sales of private placements. Brokerage firms must also take reasonable steps to ensure that their financial advisors follow all applicable securities rules and regulations, in addition to internal policies and procedures. In instances when brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their registered representatives, they may be held liable for losses sustained by investors.
The attorneys at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. have successfully resolved a number of disputes on behalf of investors, including losses sustained due to instances of fraudulent conduct such as Ponzi schemes, and related broker misconduct. Investors may contact a securities arbitration attorney by telephone at (866) 966-9598, or by e-mail at email@example.com for a no-cost, confidential consultation.