The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against ex-UBS Wealth Management Americas (UBS) broker Donna Tucker for a Ponzi fraud that allegedly bilked elderly investors of over $730,000. Tucker is accused of misappropriating the money from UBS customers over a five-year period while she worked at the financial firm.
According to the SEC, Tucker took part in unauthorized trading, made misrepresentations to customers about the status of their funds, and forged documents and checks. She allegedly gained customers’ trust by becoming friends with them.
For example, she helped one blind couple take care of their medical needs and pay their monthly bills. The latter action gave her access their checkbook. She used this authorization to forge checks written to cash that she then gave to herself.
She also purportedly lied to the couple about their holdings and gave them bogus documents showing fake brokerage account balances. The SEC says that inn one such instance, after she allegedly took money from the couple’s IRA account, the IRS sent them a delinquency letter about the premature distribution. When the couple asked Tucker about it she claimed that the letter was a mistake and no money had been withdrawn. She also generated a fake account statement to support her lie, as well as a fake letter that was supposedly from the IRA saying the matter had been resolved.
The SEC claims that Tucker took close to $350,000 from this couple alone and hid the theft by convincing them to bank online and use electronic statements because she knew they would not be able to get them.
She also allegedly took out unauthorized margin loans on accounts of customers to pay back other accounts. Tucker then used investors’ funds to pay for vehicles, vacations, clothes, and a country club membership.
UBS has since paid back several customers for Tucker’s fraud. She resigned from UBS last year. In September 2013, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred her.
Tucker is settling the SEC charges and has agreed to disgorge the monies. The order she consented to permanently enjoins her from violating the Securities Act of 1933’s Section 17(a), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934’s Section 10(b), and Rule 10b-5. Meantime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia has filed a parallel criminal case against her.
Elder financial fraud is a serious problem. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP represents senior investors and others who have suffered losses because of securities fraud. Financial fraud by brokers and investment advisors may result in a huge financial strain for elderly investors. Many of them rely on their retirement monies to carry them through for the remainder of their lives. Our securities lawyers are here to help investors recoup their losses.
SEC Charges Virginia-Based Broker With Stealing Funds From Elderly Customers, SEC, July 31, 2014
Read the SEC’s Complaint (PDF)
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