While investors are told time and time again to inspect monthly statements from the broker or firm handling their investments, many are still victims of fraud that could have been detected before losses become so substantial that the victim may never recover. Careful evaluation of monthly statements and transaction documents can uncover discrepancies that indicate stock broker fraud has occurred.
Ralph Edward Thomas Jr., Vice President of Harbor Financial from August 2000 through February 2004 and a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors LLC from February 2004 through July 2010, is allegedly the perpetrator of a particularly heinous fraud. Thomas controlled a trust of $3 million that had been granted as a result of birth injuries that resulted in cerebral palsy for a child. According to allegations against Thomas, he stole more than $756,900 from the trust through cashier’s checks and unauthorized withdrawals and used the money to pay personal expenses and personal credit card accounts. How did he do it? The settlement funds were used to purchase an annuity which would pay the child at least $3,990 per month. In reality, the monthly payment actually averaged around $6,287 per month. However, when Thomas should have dispersed this monthly sum to the mother for care of the child, he only dispersed $1,000 to $1,500 a month. In addition, Thomas allegedly used forgery to initiate three mortgages in the name of the fund’s trustee. Proceeds from the mortgages were deposited into the account and then withdrawn by Thomas for personal use. In this way, Thomas obtained an additional $205,000.
Stock broker fraud lawyers strongly urge investors to keep a close eye on their monthly statements and any other documentation received from entities controlling their investments. Investors that have not, up to this point, been diligent in monitoring their statements should go back and review statements immediately. If any discrepancies, irregularities or unauthorized transactions are found that may indicate stock broker fraud has occurred, contact an investment attorney at The Law Office of Christopher J. Gray at (866) 966-9598 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.