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Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

Joseph R. Butler, a former Registered Representative with Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (Woodbury Financial) was permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for taking advantage of an elderly, dementia suffering customer’s bank accounts, converting her money for his own use, and naming himself as her annuity’s beneficiary, falsely representing that he was her son.

In its investigation, FINRA states that Mr. Butler admitted that his 75 year old, widowed customer who suffered from dementia was dependent on him and trusted him to take care of her.  Mr. Butler was added to the elderly customer’s accounts after observing that her mental faculties were declining.  It was then that Mr. Butler began withdrawing money from her accounts.  According to FINRA’s findings, between September 2009 and December 2010, Mr. Butler wrote nine checks from his customer’s accounts totaling $105,646.158.  Eight of the nine checks were made payable to himself or cash, and the ninth check he used to pay his Federal income taxes.  FINRA goes on to state that Mr. Butler arranged to have the customer’s account statements delivered to his home address rather than hers and, in the same month, wired $5,000 from her accounts to his own, claiming that it was a “test,” according to FINRA.  Further, Mr. Butler sent a change request form for his customer’s $453,000 annuity in which he removed the granddaughters as beneficiaries and named himself, falsely representing on the form that his relationship to the customer was “son.” Continue Reading

Former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (Morgan Stanley) and UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) broker John Anthony Waszolek, of Scottsdale, Arizona, submitted an Offer of Settlement in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he took unfair financial advantage of an 81-year-old customer who had twice been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and suffered from dementia and memory loss.

According to FINRA, John Waszolek (Waszolek) was informed by an estate planning attorney that she would not amend the elderly client’s trust to make Waszolek a beneficiary because it had been determined that the client lacked sufficient testamentary capacity. However, through a separate attorney, Maszolek gained appointment as successor trustee and residual beneficiary of the client’s trust. Upon the elderly client’s death, FINRA found that Waszolek attempted to inherit more than $1.8 million from the estate. Continue Reading

According to FINRA, Raymond James and Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) stockbroker Paul David Arnold (Arnold) misappropriated and misused funds of an 88-year-old customer. The regulator alleged that during the period May 2010 through April 2011 that Arnold, a stockbroker in Raymond James’ Largo, Florida office, had customers sign blank checks that Arnold later made payable to his own wife and son without the customer’s authorization. FINRA found that Arnold misappropriated and misused $173,600 in customers’ funds. Arnold did not contest the charges and failed to appear for testimony on two separate occasions. The customer received an arbitration award against Arnold and appears to have settled his claim against the broker-dealer. Arnold has been permanently barred from serving in any capacity in the securities industry.

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