SEC Charges Investment Adviser With Defrauding Seniors Who Were His Friends

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against investment adviser Tarek D. Bahgat for allegedly stealing $378K from clients. Bahgat is accused of misappropriating funds from seven investment advisory clients, most of whom were elderly investors.

According to the regulator, from December 2014 through September 2016, Bahgat, using the alias Terry Dean Bahgat, misappropriated the clients’ funds online and transferred the money to his own account and that of WealthCFO, which was the payroll and accounting company that he controlled. FINRA’s BrokerCheck database shows that Bahgat was working for two brokerage firms: Cambridge Investment Research and Gradient Securities. After exiting Gradient, he was a state-registered advisor and used the name WealthCFO Partners.

The SEC’s complaint claims that Bahgat would sometimes obtain the internet bill-paying privileges in some client accounts by pretending to be the client or having his assistant, Lauramarie Colangelo, pose as the client during phone calls with the brokerage firms that held the accounts. Colangelo was the operations manager of WealthCFO.

Bahgat’s advisory client victims included a 77-year-old retiree, who was also a friend, and the elderly client’s son. He misappropriated more than $110K from them.

From another friend and client, a 57-year old doctor, Bahgat is accused of misappropriating more than $196K. Another client, an 82-year old doctor and also a friend, was allegedly misappropriated of $40K.

Bahgat and Colangelo are accused of misappropriating more than $24K from an elderly widow. He also is accused of misappropriating more than $3,800 from a 66-year-old clerk and her husband, a 70-year-old retired factory worker. The SEC said that Bahgat bilked customers until September 2016 when he left the US and went to Egypt.

Earlier this year, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred Bahgat from associating with member firms after he neglected to respond to the SRO’s request for information involving another case involving alleged misrepresentations in the sale of a non-qualified variable annuity.

Both Bahgat and Colangelo face SEC charges. The regulator’s charges against Bahgat allege Investment Advisers Act of 1940 violations. Colangelo is charged with aiding and abetting him.

The regulator wants permanent injunctions, civil penalties, disgorgement, and interest. WealthCFO is a relief defendant.

Senior Investor fraud
Getting bilked by anyone can be emotionally and financially devastating, whether the person is a trusted financial representative or a close friend or family member. At Shepherd Smith Edward and Kantas, LTD LLP, our senior financial fraud lawyers work with older investors and their families to try recouping their losses caused by misappropriation, skimming, unsuitable recommendations, negligence, churning, overconcentration, breach of fiduciary duty, supervisory failures, trading fraud, failure to executive trades, unsuitability, registration violations, unauthorized trading, misrepresentations and omissions, and other types of misconduct by an investment adviser, broker, or another financial representative.

Unfortunately, incidents of senior financial fraud continue to grow, with one 2015 report by True Link Financial noting $36B in such losses every year. There can be serious repercussions when an older person falls victim to financial fraud, starting with not being able to make back the losses because he/she is already retired and no longer bringing in an income. Our securities fraud lawyers are here to try to help older investors get back losses suffered due to negligence, carelessness, or deliberate wrongdoing. Contact our elder financial fraud law firm today and ask to speak to one of our experienced investment adviser fraud attorneys.

Read the SEC’s Complaint (PDF)

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