C. L. King & Associates, Inc. (CL King) of Albany, New York was named a Respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint that alleges CL King assisted customers in a scheme to profit from the deaths of vulnerable, elderly and terminally ill patients. The complaint alleges that CL King failed to establish and maintain proper supervisory procedures and failed to recognize suspicious activity in regard to a death-put investment scheme.
The FINRA investigators found that two CL King customers recruited terminally ill individuals by offering to pay them between $10,000 and $15,000 in exchange for their agreement to open a joint brokerage account. Between January 2012 and October 2013, CL King opened 36 accounts for its customers with individuals often signing agreements relinquishing their rights over, and responsibilities for, the assets in their accounts. Once the accounts were opened, the CL King customers used the joint accounts to purchase discounted corporate bonds, notes, and market-linked CDs (MLCDs) containing a survivor’s option or “death put,” which allowed the customers to redeem the investments for the full principal amount prior to maturity upon the death of a beneficial owner.