The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged an investment adviser representative with stealing approximately $5 million from client accounts by initiating unauthorized wire transfers and issuing checks to third parties to cover personal expenses.
The SEC alleges that Barry Connell, who worked in the New Jersey office of a major financial institution, conducted more than 100 unauthorized transactions by using falsified authorization forms misrepresenting that he received verbal requests from the clients. Connell allegedly used money from client accounts to rent a home in suburban Las Vegas and pay for a country club membership and private jet service.
“As alleged in our complaint, Connell stole funds from clients who entrusted him their finances, choosing to fund his own lavish lifestyle rather than fulfill the fiduciary duty he owed them,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
The SEC’s complaint charges Connell with violations of Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York today filed criminal charges against Connell.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by Jonathan Grant, George O’Kane, and Wendy Tepperman. The litigation will be led by Dugan Bliss and the case is being supervised by Sanjay Wadhwa. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.