An ex-financial advisor has pleaded guilty to stealing over $1.6 million from a family that owned three trusts that he managed. The defendant, Brian Keenan, appeared before the New York State Supreme Court this week and is expected to be sentenced on Dec. 21, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
“A financial advisor’s chief responsibility is to act in the best interest of his or her clients,” said Vance, in a statement. “Instead of abiding by that duty, Brian Keenan took advantage of the victims in this case and stole their money to pay for his own personal expenses.”
From May 2007 to August 2012, Keenan worked for Train Babcock Advisors, an investment advisory firm based in Midtown Manhattan. During this time, he served as a trustee and, he admitted, stole more than $1.6 million from the beneficiaries of three separate trusts owned by one family.
The advisor, a resident of Red Bank, New Jersey, opened a joint checking account in his name and the name of one of the beneficiaries, the district attorney’s office says, though the beneficiaries had no access to this account. After that, he had more than 40 checks, totaling more than $1.6 million, issued from the three trust accounts and payable to the joint account, which he controlled.
“The defendant then withdrew the funds as cash or transferred the money to his personal account,” the DA’s office reported in a press release. “Keenan spent the stolen money on personal expenses, including credit card payments.”
Train Babcock Advisors did not respond to a request for comment.
“My office is committed to ensuring the integrity of New York’s financial advisory industry and holding accountable those who engage in this type of fraud,” Vance added.
— Check out Credit Suisse Fined $16.5M by FINRA for Weak Anti-Money Laundering Policies on ThinkAdvisor.