The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred a former LPL Financial broker in New Hampshire over a scam in which he allegedly solicited $576,000 from three clients, falsely claiming their funds would be used to invest in a lucrative investment project in Africa that pop music artist Taylor Swift and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were involved in.
“We are getting close, a week, maybe two, I just had a long talk with Taylor about it in the middle of the night lol,” the broker wrote to a client in a text message, according to the state securities bureau. ”We need $30k this week to finish the project in Africa so we all get paid big,” the broker texted the client in another message. “I can come up with $20k, but I’m $10k short, so you have it? If not, no worries, but Taylor asked me to personally ask you, lol, she likes you! Let me know.”
In a recent order, the SEC said it accepted an offer of settlement by Dain F. Stokes, 60, of Fremont, New Hampshire, in which the ex-LPL rep agreed to be barred from association with any broker, dealer, investment advisor, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent or nationally recognized statistical rating organization; and also agreed to be barred from participating in any offering of a penny stock in any capacity.
LPL did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. Stokes worked as an advisor and registered representative in LPL’s Bedford, New Hampshire, office from June 2009 to August 2019, according to the SEC. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website, LPL discharged him Aug. 28, 2019, in connection to the state of New Hampshire suspending his advisor agent and broker-dealer rep license.
In November 2019, the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation issued an Amended Order of Summary Suspension, Order to Cease and Desist against Stokes, claiming he defrauded three investors as part of his scam. The order suspended Stokes’ investment adviser agent and broker-dealer representative license and also permanently barred him from any securities licensure in New Hampshire. The order also required Stokes to cease and desist from further violations of New Hampshire securities laws, pay restitution of $576,000, pay an administrative fine of $20,000, and pay the cost of the investigation.