According to a press release issued by the US Attorney’s office in the Southern district of Ohio, Mark F. Speakman, 60, pleaded guilty on December 8, 2016 to one count each of wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As part of his offered guilty plea, he agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution to the victims of his investment fraud scheme.
According to FINRA BrokerCheck, Speakman was registered with Ameriprise Financial in Grove City, Ohio from 02/08/1996 – 11/03/2015. He was barred from the securities industry by FINRA in January 2016 for ignoring a request for information.
Speakman allegedly persuaded his Ameriprise clients to remove their funds from their accounts and invest them in Centrax, a fraudulent real estate investment trust. Rather than investing the funds in real estate, he stole their money. He then allegedly took $870,000 from seven victims for the real estate scheme and used the money to pay his own expenses.
In addition, Speakman allegedly took money from other clients to avoid detection. According to court documents, Speakman convinced another client’s family to invest in gold coins so he could divert the money in order to pay back the previous victim. Speakman’s fraud scheme purportedly profited him by nearly $1.2 million.
Additionally, Speakman filed a false federal income tax return with the IRS on which he omitted $275,000 in income generated by his fraudulent conduct for the year 2014. From 2002 – 2014, the IRS reportedly lost approximately $300,000.
If convicted, Speakman could face serious jail time. Wire fraud is a crime punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment; money laundering is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and filing a false income tax return is a crime punishable by up to three years of prison time.
The White Law Group is investigating the liability Speakman’s employer may have for failure to properly supervise him.
Brokerage firms have a responsibility to monitor their brokers and ensure that investments recommendations are in the clients’ best interest. When brokers make unsuitable investment recommendations or violate FINRA Rules, the firm they work for can be held liable for failure to supervise and responsible for investment losses.
If you invested with Mark Speakman and have concerns about your investments, please call The White Law Group at 888-637-5510 for a free consultation.
The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm dedicated to the representation of investors in FINRA arbitration claims against brokerage firms throughout the United States.
To learn more about The White Law Group, visit www.WhiteSecuritesLaw.com.