Oppenheimer Fined $1 Million for Abuse of Widow – Later Told She “Only Had Herself to Blame”

Massachusetts securities regulators fined Oppenheimer & Company, Inc. a million dollars for failing to supervise its representatives and ordered the company to also pay $135,000 to the victim, the difference between the losses she sustained and the amount Oppenheimer earlier paid her.

Oppenheimer was charged with failing to supervise a broker as he allegedly engaged in acts including theft, fraud, churning and unauthorized trading in the account of an elderly couple. The firm consented to the order without admitting or denying the claims. The broker is currently under indictment for securities fraud.

After her husband died, personnel at the elderly woman’s bank raised concerns over the activity which had occurred in the couple’s brokerage account. The widow approached Oppenheimer and claims were ultimately filed in arbitration. Oppenheimer then responded by saying she “only has herself to blame for any losses or other injury she may have suffered.” The arbitration claims were later resolved with Oppenheimer paying less than was lost.

The Massachusetts Consent Order states that Oppenheimer failed to reasonably supervise the broker whose trading was excessive based on the couple’s age, objectives, risk tolerance, financial condition, financial sophistication and personal health. It adds that Oppenheimer’s branch manager repeatedly reviewed and approved the activity and that inadequate action was undertaken by the compliance department.

Further action will apparently also be taken against Oppenheimer for stating that it had provided the regulators with all relevant e-mails during the investigation, which the regulators claim is false.

Shepherd Smith and Edwards represents individuals and institutions with claims against investment firms. If you or your firm are the victim of misconduct by members of the securities industry, hiring an experienced law firm can increase your chances of recovery. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Related Web Resources:

Massachusetts Securities Division’s Consent Order against Oppenheimer & Company, Inc.