January 5, 2015-Bellingham, Washington
In July 2005, Jeffrey M. Knutsen, 43, of Bellingham was permanently barred from the securities industry for stealing nearly $90,000 from a customer’s account to pay his personal credit card bill. Knutsen was registered with Linsco/Private Ledger Corp (now LPL Financial) at the time of the sanction.
Unfortunately for his new victims, Knutsen did not cease acting as a financial advisor and, despite being barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), continues to work with his mostly elderly clients.
According to the FBI Press Release, Knutsen did not tell his clients he had been barred and instead talked them into moving their accounts to an online brokerage firm, explaining that he was moving to save them fees. He set up accounts with TD Ameritrade and ETrade and continued to manage their accounts charging them a management fee.
Knutsen returned to his old ways and also began writing checks to himself from the client accounts, taking over $250,000 without the authorization of knowledge of his elderly clients. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison and $251,892 in restitution.
Investors should periodically check the disciplinary history of their financial advisor from time to time on the FINRA BrokerCheck Website. See this for more details.
Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL, and Austin, TX, provides representation to investors nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.
Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.
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