Friday, October 25, 2013


Blake Richards, a broker formerly with LPL Financial LLC, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with defrauding investors and misappropriating $2 million from at least six clients. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia., Mr. Richards misappropriated client money that constituted retirement savings and/or life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses. The SEC complaint also stated that in order to gain one investor's trust, Mr. Richards went so far as to deliver pain medication during a snowstorm to a client's husband who had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Mr. Richards was an LPL Financial broker from May 2009 until May 2013.

According to the SEC's complaint, Mr. Richards' customers told him they had funds to invest from retirement accounts or proceeds from a life insurance policy. Mr. Richards allegedly told them to write out checks to an entity called "Blake Richards Investments" or "BMO Investments." As a result, the SEC's complaint stated that "Richards, whose production at LPL Financial had been virtually nonexistent over the past few years, began siphoning off funds from clients, and converting them for his personal use."

The charges against Mr. Richards came not too long after LPL Financial, the largest independent broker-dealer with more than 13,000 reps and advisers, was hit with fines and restitution orders. In May 2013, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined LPL Financial $7.5 million for 35 separate e-mail system failures. Also in May 2013, Massachusetts securities regulators said LPL Financial had been ordered to pay $4.8 million in restitution to investors over improper sales of non-traded real estate investment trusts, which was more than double the amount originally revealed - Massachusetts regulators in February 2013 had said LPL would be required to set aside at least $2.2 million in restitution.

Broker-dealers must establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect customers from broker misconduct. If broker-dealers do not establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system, they may be liable to investors for damages. Therefore, investors who have suffered damages due to Mr. Richards' illegal conduct can bring forth claims to recover losses against LPL Financial, which should have prevented Mr. Richards from committing the described illegal acts.

Have you suffered losses in your LPL Financial investment resulting from broker misconduct? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation. Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against stockbrokers who have defrauded investors and/or misappropriated investors' funds.

The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! This Investors' Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 30 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors' rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website,, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.

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