A judge has ordered a former Merrill Lynch employee, San Antonio stockbroker Bruce E. Hammonds, to serve almost five years in prison and three years supervised release for Texas securities fraud. Bruce E. Hammonds also must pay $1.1 million in restitution to the Merrill Lynch investors he defrauded and almost $60,000 to two clients that he continued to defraud after the broker-dealer fired him in June 2008.
Hammonds reportedly did not deny the alleged fraud when Merrill Lynch confronted him about his activities. The broker-dealer has paid the investment fraud victims back in full.
According to the criminal complaint affidavit, Hammonds opened a working capital account under the name B & J Partnership.He was supposed to register the account in an internal monitoring system, which he never did. Instead of placing investors’ funds in a Merrill Lynch fund, he deposited $1.4 million of their money in his working capital account. He provided clients with charts demonstrating the performance of the B&J Partnership investment fund even though no such fund existed.
Hammonds pleaded guilty to federal securities fraud charges earlier this year after an investigation found that between August 2006 and October 2008, Hammonds didn’t invest clients’ funds in stocks and hedge funds. Instead, he used the money for personal purposes, including an alleged house-flipping business. He gave back $486,000 to clients so it would appear as if they had made money off their investments.
Related Web Resources:
Judge sends ex-stockbroker to jail for bilking investors, Business Journal, October 2, 2009
Stockbroker sent to prison for $1.4 million scheme, My San Antonio, October 3, 2009
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