Broker Targeted Accounts of Elderly and Vulnerable Clients; Citigroup Has Paid Restitution to Customers
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently announced that it has barred Tamara Lanz Moon of Redwood City , CA , from the securities industry for wrongfully taking over $850,000 in funds from at least 22 customers, including her own father. Moon was also charged with falsifying numerous account records, engaging in unauthorized trades in customer accounts and related recordkeeping violations.
Moon’s misconduct occurred over an eight-year period ending in March 2008, while she was working as a sales assistant for Citigroup Global Markets at the firm’s Palo Alto , CA , branch office. Citigroup has compensated customers for losses resulting from Moon’s misconduct.
FINRA found that Moon targeted elderly, ill or otherwise vulnerable customers whom she believed were unable to monitor their accounts. Victims of Moon’s scheme included elderly customers (including a senior with Parkinson’s disease), an American diplomat and even her own father. Moon forged signatures on letters of instruction requesting unauthorized address changes, trades and transfers between and to accounts controlled by Moon for the purpose of paying her personal expenses, remodeling her home and making personal investments in other real estate properties.
In one case, FINRA found that Moon misappropriated approximately $26,000 belonging to an elderly widow. In November 2006, following the death of the customer’s husband, Moon helped the widow consolidate her holdings into one Citigroup account. In June 2007, when the widow was 83 years old, Moon began moving money from the widow’s Citigroup account — without the widow’s authorization — to accounts owned by Moon and to accounts owned by other Citigroup customers to replace funds Moon had previously stolen from those accounts.
To further her scheme, Moon falsified documents requesting address changes. On May 21, 2007, the widow’s account appeared on an internal report that indicated a discrepancy between the address on the widow’s account and her address in government and telephone directories. Moon explained the discrepancy to Citigroup by falsely stating that the “client moved into a nursing home.”
Moon’s misconduct was not limited to taking funds belonging to elderly widows. Moon misappropriated approximately $55,000 belonging to an American diplomat working overseas, who held custodial accounts at Citigroup for his two daughters, and forged his signature on authorizations to change his address so account statements wouldn’t reach him.
Moon also misappropriated funds belonging to her own father. In January 2006, Moon created a phony account for her father, without his knowledge or consent, and used this account to misuse approximately $30,000 belonging to her father and approximately $250,000 belonging to other Citigroup customers. On Jan. 20, 2006, Moon forged her father’s signature on a letter of authorization to Citigroup, changing the address on the account to keep account statements from being sent to her father. From August 2006 to March 2008, Moon requested and processed unauthorized cash transfers into her father’s phony account from other Citigroup customers totaling over $250,000. During this same timeframe, Moon — again forging her father’s signature — disbursed the funds from the account for her own personal use.
In settling this matter, Moon neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings.
If you have questions about investments you made with Citigroup, or where Tamara Lanz Moon acted as a sales assistant for your financial advisor, or if you believe that your funds have been misappropriated by your broker, The White Law Group may be able to help. To speak to a securities attorney, please call our Chicago office at 312-238-9650 for a free consultation.
The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.
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