FBI Investigates Boston Broker Fired by Morgan Stanley
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has interviewed at least one client of James Polese, a Boston-area broker who Morgan Stanley has dismissed for allegedly misappropriating client assets.
“James is in big trouble, and something is going to happen in the next month or so,” said Ralph Bates, who confirmed that he had been a client of Polese for about eight years and was interviewed by agents for about two hours on Tuesday.
Bates, a Beverly, Mass-area philanthropist who made his fortune through real estate investing, declined to describe details of the interview or the size of the alleged theft but said his suspicions were aroused when Polese asked him to sign several withdrawal forms.
“It was amiss because James came out to visit me and wanted me to approve all the money he took out of the account,” said Bates, 86, who described the former broker as having become one of his best friends.
Morgan Stanley has made Bates whole, and he remains a client of the firm, he said.
Polese, who had been a registered representative since 1995, did not return several calls to his home in Wenham, Mass.
Morgan Stanley dismissed Polese and fellow broker Cornelius “Cory” Peterson on June 26 for “allegations of conduct involving misappropriation of client assets,” according to their BrokerCheck records. Peterson did not return a message sent to him on a social-media site.
The FBI as a matter of policy does not comment on whether it is investigating specific incidents, said Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman in the agency’s Boston office.
A spokeswoman at Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the FBI probe or on whether other law agencies or regulators are investigating the firm.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which has been emphasizing elder abuse incidents in its enforcement and public awareness programs, does not discuss incidents it might be investigating, said Michelle Ong, a spokeswoman at the self-regulatory organization.
Polese had worked at Morgan Stanley’s 53 State Street branch since May 2010. He joined after a five-year stint at UBS Financial Services and eight years previously at Prudential Securities and its successor, Wachovia Securities, according the BrokerCheck database.
Peterson has spent his entire career as a registered representative at Morgan Stanley, which he joined in 2011, according to his BrokerCheck history. He and Polese worked on a team known as The Willing Group that is run by industry veterans James R. “Bob” Willing and John H. Buck.