The SEC recently charged Blake Richards (“Richards”), a former registered representative of LPL Financial (“LPL”) in Buford, Georgia, with defrauding investors and misappropriating $2 million from at least six clients. Richards worked at LPL from 2009 to May 2013, and operated a branch office of LPL through his company, Lanier Wealth Management, LLC.
The SEC alleges that Richards instructed the investors to write out checks to an entity called “Blake Richards Investment” or “BMO Investments,” both of which were d/b/a entities used by Richards. Although Richards represented to the investors that he would invest their funds through his investment vehicle in life insurance, fixed income assets, variable annuities, or household-name stocks, Richards misappropriated much of the funds for his personal use, according to the SEC Complaint. The majority of the misappropriated funds constituted retirement savings and/or life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses. On at least one occasion, Richards provided an investor with a fictitious statement on what purported to be LPL Financial letterhead. The SEC also alleges that Richards gave investors business cards in which he falsely designated himself as”AAMS,” which stands for Accredited Asset Management Specialist.
The SEC obtained a temporary restraining order freezing Richards’ assets and prohibiting the destruction of documents. The SEC’s complaint also seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
If you are a former client of Blake Richards, Lanier Wealth Management, or LPL Financial and suffered investment losses or suspicious activity in your account, please call Sonn Law Group at 844-689-5754 or complete our “contact form.” Sonn Law Group is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies.