A former Wells Fargo financial advisor has pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in a $450,000 scheme. Facing up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, the former advisor received a sentence of 27 months from a federal judge. According to news reports, the former advisor defrauded approximately 40 investors, all of whom may be able to recover their losses through FINRA arbitration with the representation of a securities fraud lawyer.
Many investors assume that choosing a well-known financial institution such as Wells Fargo is enough to avoid the risk of suffering fraudulent losses. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, cases of brokers and investment advisors at well-known financial institutions are relatively common.
Investing with a Big Bank Does Not Provide Protection Against Broker or Advisor Fraud
Wells Fargo, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Santander—these are some of the biggest and most well-known financial institutions in the world. They are also institutions that have all faced legal action from investors in the past few years. Others have faced legal action as well, often based on similar allegations of brokers and investment advisors providing self-interested investment advice, if not outright defrauding their clients.
In this particular case, the investment advisor, Ramon Herrera, is accused of convincing elderly and Spanish-speaking clients to sign blank withdrawal slips. Then, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he would simply complete the withdrawal slips and deposit clients’ funds into his and a family member’s account. All told, Herrera allegedly stole more than $450,000 from approximately 40 investors.
This, sadly, is not an uncommon scenario. Targeting investors in particular groups—such as those who are aging or for whom English is a second language—is referred to as affinity fraud. We have reported on several cases of affinity fraud in recent years, and our securities fraud lawyers have represented many victims of these fraud schemes.
How Can You Protect Yourself Against Broker or Investment Advisor Fraud?
If you cannot trust a broker or investment advisor based on his or her affiliation with a major financial institution, then how can you protect yourself against broker or investment advisor fraud? Here are some tips from our securities fraud lawyers:
- Get Referrals – Ask friends and family members for referrals.
- Do Some Research – Before choosing a broker or investment advisor, research the broker or advisor online—FINRA’s BrokerCheck is a good place to start.
- Monitor Your Account – Review your account on a regular basis, and ask questions if you have concerns.
- Seek Help When Necessary – If you believe that you may be a victim of investment fraud, seek help from a securities fraud lawyer right away.
Speak with a Securities Fraud Lawyer at Zamansky LLC
The securities fraud lawyers at Zamansky LLC are committed to helping individual investors recover their fraudulent losses. If you believe that you or someone you love may be a victim of investment fraud, we encourage you to call 212-742-1414 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.