Tampa, FL asked in Family Law and Stockbroker Fraud for Florida

Q: How serious is it if somebody who has a series 7 license opens an account in my mine and then cashes out the profits?

I'm in the process of a divorce, and I disagree with spouses financial affidavit. Here are a few reasons why:

I have discovered that my spouse forged my signature to open an investment account in my name and then cashed out and I don't know where the money went. Is this something I should report to his employer? The company in which is opened the account?

So far I discovered he opened an account with Fidelty (without my knowledge, and took out 6K out of my IRA) and then later opened an account with chase schwab without my knowledge and took out 8K+

He had also set up a username / password to my account at PNC Bank, and took out about 1,500 to buy a car for our daughter. He is not on the account at all.

This just feels really wrong and shady. He won't discuss this with me at all. All requests for background have gone unanswered

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2 Lawyer Answers
Robert K. Savage
Robert K. Savage
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Stockbroker & Investment Fraud Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Hi, I agree: this is definitely shady and wrong.

Your spouse is not permitted to sign your name unless you signed a power of attorney document giving him the explicit authority to do so. Thus, if your spouse forged your signature, most fact finders would determine that that is fraud.

If the stockbroker was aware that your husband forged your signature then I would argue that the stockbroker and brokerage firm are also responsible for the money that your spouse took from you using a forged signature. Also, depending on the specific facts of the situation the stockbroker and his/her brokerage firm may be responsible even if they did not have direct knowledge but the circumstances were such that they should have known.

Further, if the stockbroker and brokerage firm took direction from your spouse in an account that is in your name only, they are likely for the damages caused because neither the stockbroker nor the brokerage firm are permitted to take orders from someone who is not the account holder, except in very limited circumstances (See: power of attorney).

While PNC Bank is not a brokerage firm in this instance, I imagine that the only way they allowed your spouse to get login credentials on your account is based on additional fraudulent documents. I think PNC Bank should have at least verified with you that someone was setting up login credentials so you could have stopped it.

You should definitely pursue these bad acts and let your family law lawyer know about what happened so she or he can notify the judge of this bad behavior. Good luck in pursuing your spouse's shady dealings.

1 user found this answer helpful

Bryan T. Forman
Bryan T. Forman
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Stockbroker & Investment Fraud Lawyer
  • Austin, TX

A: Your situation involves a number of things which could result in the bank and/or broker dealer being held responsible, including identity theft, borrowing/lending to customers, theft and conversion, forgery, unauthorized trading, failure to supervise, and perhaps other claims depending on a more detailed understanding of the facts. Most institutions have one or two step verification procedures for changes, liquidations, etc. Rather than expect answers from your husband, you should deal directly with each institution, and possibly with the FBI. The criminal authorities may be less likely to try and recover your money. If the financial institutions are unwilling to refund your funds, you should consider pursuing recovery from those institutions. If any of the transactions were done through an electronic funds transfer, the EFTA would provide recovery, but that Act has certain timing and notification requirements, so don't delay.

Good luck.

1 user found this answer helpful

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