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Investment firm taking advantage of my elderly parents?

Date: 4/23/2018 7:50 PM (PST)

Hello, in 2015 I was given Power of Attorney to my elderly parents after my Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I became alarmed when I saw that on their 2016 tax statement it showed their investor collected $6000 in broker fees while all they had earned was $600 the entire year. We transferred all of the money left in their accounts to another Broker in April 2017. I noticed this year while doing their taxes that there was over $800,000 in their gains and loses on a form 8489. I gave a copy of their tax return to an lawyer/accountant who says that although they didn't loose that amount directly, the firm had moved that amount of money in and out of their account over and over and their fees were based on the number of transactions. Grossly negligent, he says, but he wasn't certain there is much we could do about it now.
My question is: Did this company take advantage of my elderly parents? I am certain as soon as they knew someone other than my parents were overseeing the money, they moved a lot of the money around before we got out. Are there ethical or elderly abuse questions here? My Mother passed away last December 28th, 2017. My Father is still alive. The company is still in business. I'm sure they had all the forms they needed to make what they were doing maybe legal, but I'm sure my parents had no idea or understanding that they were being taken advantage of. Thank you!

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Date: 4/24/2018 8:29 AM (PST)

Good Morning Diana and thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a yes or no answer for you. Yes, the firm’s charges and fees are suspect. Did they commit fraud or elder abuse? It’s possible. These are all allegations however, that would require investigation before a final determination is made.

Per FINRA, the financial regulatory authority, they recommend clients contact the firm and question the broker about any transaction that you do not understand or did not authorize with your broker. The next step would be contacting the firm’s branch manager or compliance department, and be sure to have your complaint in writing.

For more tips and how to proceed, I am including a link to FINRA’s complaint center: http://www.finra.org/investors/investor-complaint-center

Diana, we would also be happy to contact the firm on your behalf. We’ll make them aware of the complaint and ask that they address the allegations. As soon as we receive their response, we’ll contact you. If you’re not satisfied with their response or the firm chooses not to respond, then further action on your part may be necessary, such as filing a complaint with FINRA or legal remedies. To file a complaint with BCA click on this link: https://www.checkbca.org/file-complaint

Please feel free to contact me directly at vantillon@checkbca.org if I can be of further assistance.

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