As some of our Lexington readers know, it is often easier to look back and spot the warning signs of unethical behavior in a stockbroker than it is to notice the behaviors in the moment. That might be what some friends and associates of a former stockbroker are thinking these days.
The former broker is apparently prepared to plead guilty to a number of criminal charges after he reportedly defrauded those who trusted him of more than $600,000. His pattern of unethical behavior goes back at least to 1989, when he was convicted on fraud charges while working as a stockbroker.
Prosecutors say his latest scheme began in 2008 and lasted through early 2012. Over that time, the Florida man convinced his friends and associates to give him money to invest on their behalf. He promised returns of 10 to 15 percent, but when people began requesting the return of their investments, he began writing bad checks, prosecutors said.
As he blended investments with his own funds and tried to juggle accounts and payments, he wrote a series of bad checks that totaled more than $1.7 million.
At 72 years old, he faces long years in prison instead of a quiet life of retirement. He could be sentenced to up to three decades behind bars, but a newspaper report notes that he is likely to receive less than the maximum punishment, which could include a fine of up to $750,000.
One wonders, of course, if his friends and associates knew of his previous fraud conviction, or if he hid that as well as he hid his motives for his most recent scheme.
For those who believe they have been victimized by a broker engaged in unlawful practices, a conversation with an attorney experienced in matters of securities fraud can be the beginning of the process of protecting yourself, your family and your portfolio.