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FINRA Orders Wells Fargo Broker to Pay $650,000 in Restitution

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred an ex-Wells Fargo broker and ordered him to pay $650,000 plus interest to a former client on the grounds that the advisor allegedly defrauded a client of at least the same amount.

According to a FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, advisor Adorean Boleancu opened two home equity lines of credit for an elderly, widowed client, D.T., shortly after moving to Wells Fargo from Morgan Stanley early in 2008. From 2008 to January 2010, Boleancu converted funds from those credit lines by issuing checks in the client’s name “without her authorization and issuing those checks to others, including his girlfriend,” FINRA wrote.

According to a civil complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco in August of 2012, Boleancu also made an unsuitable investment of $2,000,000 in variable annuities and “risky equity funds.” The client discovered the investments, which had declined by $1,000,000, in January 2012 when she hired a new financial advisor, the civil complaint said.

“At all relevant times, D.T. was an unsophisticated and inexperienced investor who relied completely on the professional advice and experience of Boleancu for her investments and safekeeping of her financial assets,” FINRA said in the letter. “Boleancu was aware of her lack of experience and sophistication at the outset of their relationship.”

FINRA also said that Boleancu had ignored requests for documentation and information that the regulator had sent in April and September of last year concerning the investigation of the misappropriation.

An attorney for Boleancu did return requests for comment.

Accordingly, FINRA barred Boleancu from association with any member firms and ordered him to provide satisfactory proof of the $650,000 restitution to the former client.

Boleancu signed a FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent on February 20 and agreed to the terms without admitting or denying the findings.

An attorney representing the claimant in the civil court case, Jill Rowe of Cooper, White & Cooper said that the arbitration is still pending and set for May of this year. She could not comment further given confidentiality agreements.

The broker was terminated from Wells Fargo in December of 2011 “for failure to participate satisfactorily in Wells Fargo Advisors’ internal review regarding facilitation of a third party loan from a client,” according to FINRA filings.

Wells Fargo declined to comment.

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