A mismanaged retirement nest egg has resulted in a large award against A.G. Edwards.
A Venice, Florida couple who were defrauded by an A.G. Edwards broker were awarded $1.2 million plus their attorneys’ fees by a three-member panel of arbitrators in Tampa appointed by the National Association of Securities Dealers. (NASD Dispute Resolution Arbitration Number 04-08365) The award, which is assessed against both A.G. Edwards and its former employee, Brian Christensen, includes $249,644 in punitive damages.
The retired investors, Roger and Joelle Bellehumeur, were customers of A.G. Edwards’ Venice office. A.G. Edwards’ now former broker, Christensen, encouraged them to invest their retirement nest egg in annuities, but later arranged for the liquidation of the annuity investments and the transfer of their proceeds into a non-profit entity known as All School Kids, with the promise that the investors would get a modest rate of interest.
A.G. Edwards fired Christensen in March, 2003 when it was discovered he was putting customers’ money into All School Kids. However, A.G. Edwards never warned the Bellehumeurs of what it knew about Christensen’s activities.
In the absence of any warning from A.G. Edwards, the Bellehumeurs invested several hundred thousand dollars in All School Kids after Christensen was fired.
The arbitration panel awarded compensatory damages in the amount of $750,356….The claimants also recovered $168,000 in interest and costs of more than $32,000.