Wedbush Securities and an advisor were ordered to pay an investor more than $2.5 million in a dispute that FINRA ruled on last Friday. The dispute concerned the treatment of Lauretta Kuppennan, whose son, Rick Cooper, brought charges on behalf of her estate against advisor Debbie Michelle Saleh.
In its findings, the three-member panel concluded that Saleh’s conduct was “premeditated, egregious and unconscionable and part of a plan or scheme to defraud her customers.”
Saleh’s actions, the arbitration panel noted, included “forging the client’s signature on various documents, making gross misrepresentations about the securities in the client’s account and the value of those securities, providing the client with false monthly account statements and executing unauthorized redemptions and/or partial withdrawals in the client’s annuities in violation of her fiduciary duties.”
Saleh is now an advisor with Wedbush Morgan Securities and formerly was with Wells Fargo Advisors/Wachovia and its predecessor First Union Securities.
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Cooper asserted that Saleh had negligently misrepresented his mothers’ interests, committed fraud and intentional misrepresentations and/or omissions, failed to properly supervise Kuppennan’s accounts, breached fiduciary duties, engaged in unsuitable and unauthorized transactions, committed elder abuse, caused the client emotional distress and failed to abide by certain contractual duties.
These charges related to multiple investments in unspecified variable annuities.