Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of doing business with Merrill Lynch and Sentinel Securities Inc. Both firms have recently been fined by Massachusetts regulators for failing to adequately supervise employees who used customer funds for their own personal benefit.
In one case, registered representative Jane E. O’Brien reportedly borrowed client funds amounting to more than $2 million. O’Brien allegedly used client funds that should have been invested in a software company for personal expenses. According to Massachusetts prosecutors and regulators, O’Brien has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud. She was sentenced to 33 months in prison and was barred from the securities industry.
In addition, regulators say that Merrill Lynch should have suspected that O’Brien was in financial trouble when she removed $380,750 from her retirement account prematurely, incurring tax penalties, but they didn’t inform regulators about a conduct review until almost a week after the Justice Department indicted her. Merrill was ordered to pay a fine of $500,000 for allegedly failing to adequately supervise O’Brien.