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FINRA Bars Ex-Primerica Broker Charged With Elder Theft

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What You Need to Know

  • Primerica/PFS let a broker resign last month after receiving an information request from FINRA indicating he may have been charged with felonies relating to bilking elder clients.
  • On Oct. 30, 2020, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced the New Jersey broker was charged with attempted theft and conspiracy to commit theft.
  • He was barred by FINRA after he refused to cooperate with its investigation into his alleged actions.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Association has barred a former Primerica/PFS Investments broker who didn’t cooperate with FINRA’s investigation into allegations that he misappropriated funds from elder clients.

Jeffrey Dampf declined requests by the industry self-regulating agency to provide on-the-record testimony and to produce documents and information, according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Dampf signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on Sept. 29 in which he consented to FINRA’s barring him from associating with any FINRA member companies in any capacity. FINRA signed the letter on Friday.

Primerica/PFS permitted Dampf to resign last month after receiving an information request from FINRA indicating that he “may have been charged with felonies relating to taking money from the elderly,” the firm said in a disclosure on his BrokerCheck report at FINRA’s BrokerCheck website. He had joined the firm in 2009.

The firm, however, “had no such information and [was] unable to locate any publicly available information to confirm or refute the alleged charges,” it said in the disclosure.

But it didn’t take long for ThinkAdvisor to find information online related to the allegations against Dampf.

On Oct. 30, 2020, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Dampf, then 69, of Brick Township, New Jersey, was charged with attempted theft and conspiracy to commit theft. Meanwhile, Robert Tindall, then 46, and Leanna Guido, then 47, both of Toms River, New Jersey, were charged with theft  for their roles in the same scheme.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in New Jersey revealed that Dampf, in his capacity as the power of attorney and accountant for two senior siblings, was misappropriating funds entrusted to him while caring for the two older clients, according to Billhimer.

Dampf allegedly attempted to electronically transfer $500,000 to an investment account from the victims’ bank account for his own benefit. The transfer was “flagged,” however, and the money was not transferred from the victims’ account, according to Billhimer.

Dampf also hired Tindall and Guido as home health care aides for his sibling clients despite their lack of credentials, according to Billhimer.

“Tindall and Guido received funds they were not entitled to in an amount exceeding $1.5 million” from the victims, Billhimer said. The funds were allegedly misappropriated through check or electronic transfer executed by Dampf and drafted to appear as though they were legitimate reimbursements for money spent on the care and for the benefit of the clients.

“There were also large payouts purported to be gifts authorized by the elderly victims,” according to Billhimer. “The elderly victims were not of sound mind to authorize checks, electronic transfers or gifts and as such they are not legitimate,” he said.

Tindall and Guido were arrested on Oct. 29, 2020. Dampf was charged on a summons on Oct. 30, 2020; he was processed and released pending a future court date, according to Billhimer.

“The case is currently pending presentation to the grand jury” in Ocean County Superior Court, a spokesperson for Billhimer told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday.

“Jeffrey Dampf is not currently affiliated with our Company in any manner,” PFS Investments said in a statement provided to ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday. “He previously was an independent contractor sales representative of PFS Investments.  His registration with PFSI was terminated in September of 2021, soon after we became aware of the allegations against him.”

Dampf did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But InvestmentNews reported on Tuesday that Dampf denied the allegations and planned to fight the charges in court.

(Pictured: Jeffrey Dampf; Credit: Ocean County, New Jersey,. prosecutor’s website)