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Regulation and Compliance > Litigation

Client Sues Broker for Losing Her $1M Divorce Settlement

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What You Need to Know

  • The broker placed the client, now 64, in risky and unsuitable investments and churned her accounts, the suit states.
  • The broker also filled out documents without the client's knowledge.
  • As of March 31, 2021, Loveland's portfolio was worth $7,416.97.

A client is suing her broker and five brokerage firms for forgery and “catastrophic and unlawful mismanagement” of her $1.3 million divorce settlement, which she claims was lost.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western Section of Tennessee, was brought by Vickianne Loveland against David Willingham Lentz and his firms — Ameriprise, TCA Financial Group, Prospera Financial Services, Kestra Investment Services and Interactive Brokers.

Over the course of managing her investments, Lentz was registered with all of the firms, according to the suit.

“Purporting to act as Plaintiff’s independent ‘financial advisors’ and knowing that Plaintiff was an unsophisticated investor with no knowledge of investments and securities, Defendants requested that Plaintiff place her trust and confidence in them with respect to her investment assets and proceeded to exploit that trust,” the suit states.

Defendants, through Lentz, placed Loveland “in risky and unsuitable investments, churned her accounts, ‘day traded’ in her accounts, and otherwise grossly mismanaged her investments, the principal of which they knew was intended to fund her retirement and therefore was to be protected,” according to the suit.

Defendants, through Lentz, “made a number of misrepresentations to Plaintiff to prevent her from discovering their wrongdoing and even forged her name to account opening documents, arbitration agreements, and other materials to ensure that she was left in the dark in connection with their scheme,” the suit contends.

Ultimately, according to the suit, the firms “lost virtually all of Ms. Loveland’s assets.”

As of March 31, 2021, Loveland’s portfolio, which once had a principal of approximately $1.3 million, was worth $7,416.97, the suit states.

According to BrokerCheck, Lentz was fined $5,000 in 2008 and suspended for one month for “cutting and pasting” customers’ signatures onto forms. (In a comment on the site, he says he filed the forms “using older signatures” to meet a deadline and that he filed the signed forms when he received them from the clients.)

According to the suit, in 2003, Loveland received approximately $1.3 million in connection with a divorce.

Loveland’s long-time accountant, Cap Pinkham, referred her to his friend, Lentz, who was, at that time, a registered rep and investment advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, the suit states.

Loveland met with Lentz in 2004 and agreed to allow him to manage her assets.

Lentz served as Loveland’s financial advisor, and “was solely responsible for her investment portfolio and regularly liquidated and moved investments without” her knowledge.

“While Defendant Lentz knew Ms. Loveland’s investment objectives, and knew that she needed to preserve her principal amount of assets and wished only to accomplish conservative growth with minimal risk, Ms. Loveland’s investment objectives are not reflected in any account opening documents,” the suit states.

Rather, Lentz “filled out documents for her and without her knowledge, which he thereafter forged, indicating (falsely) that she was a sophisticated investor with aggressive investment strategies so that he could use her account against her best interests and in any manner that he wished,” according to the suit.

For example, the suit states that Loveland “was shocked to discover in her investigation into this lawsuit that Defendant Lentz filled out an Options Account Request Form, purportedly on her behalf, in 2017 in which he indicated that her investment objective was ‘Growth’ and that her trading experience was ‘Extensive.’”

Further, the suit states, as late as June 14, 2021, Lentz told Loveland “via email that there was ‘[n]othing to worry about,’ despite the utter depletion of her investment accounts.”

Loveland “has long been financially secure and debt free (or so she thought),” the suit states.

Due to Lentz’s misdeeds, according to the suit, Loveland “suffers from financial distress, credit card debt, stress, and anxiety and, now, sixty-four years old, is forced to work long hours for Uber and DoorDash simply to make ends meet.”