SEC Accuses Ex-LPL Connecticut Broker of Stealing $300K from Elderly Client
(Article updated on Sept. 1, 2020, with comment from LPL.)
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency action Tuesday charging investment advisor and former LPL broker Matthew O. Clason of stealing more than $300,000 from a retired 73-year-old client with whom he formed a personal relationship.
The Cheshire, Conn.-based advisor, who has been a registered broker since 2004, liquidated securities from at least two of the client’s advisory accounts in 45 transactions over the last 20 months, the SEC said in its suit filed in U.S. District Court in the district of Connecticut. He transferred about $330,000 to a joint checking account they had opened at a large national bank, funding most of it through securities sold from a non-retirement account that charged the client 1.54% of her assets under management.
Over time, Clason allegedly withdrew at least $300,000 he transferred to the bank. He made the withdrawals at different bank branches, keeping most under $10,000 to apparently avoid arousing staff suspicion and requiring the bank to report the transactions to federal authorities under anti-money-laundering rules, the SEC charged.
Clason, whose BrokerCheck said he is registered with both LPL and Integrated Wealth Concepts, an RIA in Glastonbury, could not be reached for comment. He was fired by the RIA on August 13 for failing to comply with firm policies with respect to handling client funds, and by the broker-dealer on August 19, the SEC said.
“As of August 13, 2020, Clason had at least $8,200 of Client 1’s money in his possession at his home,” it said. “Clason remains a joint signatory with Client 1 on the joint bank account, and unless restrained and enjoined, will still have access to Client 1’s money.”
The SEC seeks a trial, and asked the court to issue restraining orders freezing and accounting for Clason’s assets and requiring him to disgorge his ill-gotten gains and to pay civil monetary penalties.
“Mr. Clason was terminated from LPL on Aug. 19, 2020, after we became aware of apparent misconduct,” an LPL spokesperson said. “We are cooperating with regulators and law enforcement on their investigations.”
Clason first registered as a securities rep in August 2004 with American General, and worked for more than nine years at Lincoln Financial Advisors before switching his brokerage license to LPL in July 2017, according to his BrokerCheck history. He has no disclosures of client or other complaints on his record.