Update on Securities Fraud Investigation: Tom Buck and Merrill Lynch
According to a press announcement from The Securities and Exchange Commission on February 9, the regulator has barred former Merrill Lynch broker Tom Buck from the securities industry.
Last November we told you that Buck pleaded guilty to overcharging clients with commissions and fees, by millions of dollars. He also reached a settlement with the SEC for more than $5 million.
Buck was reportedly Merrill Lynch’s top producer in Indiana for many years and a top-ranked Barron’s broker. According to the U.S. attorney, Buck, 63, admitted to securities fraud for allegedly overcharging clients $2 million in excessive commissions from at least 50 clients and for failing to recommend lower-priced fee-based accounts.
The “Buck Team” as it was called, apparently had more than 3,000 accounts and $1.3 billion in assets under management.
The SEC said that Buck purportedly put clients into accounts where they paid commissions rather than less expensive fee-based alternatives. He allegedly did not tell clients that his commissions exceeded promised limits and placed unauthorized trades in their accounts.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Buck worked briefly at RBC Capital Markets after Merrill fired him in 2015. He has 40 disclosures listed on his Broker report, and 37 are customer disputes. FINRA permanently barred Buck from the securities industry in July 2015.
He also was the subject of an FBI probe, which resulted in one count of securities fraud to which Mr. Buck pleaded guilty. He reportedly faces up to 25 years in prison.
In addition to the $5 million settlement on the civil fraud charges, Buck will reportedly disgorge about $2.9 million and pay a fine of $2.2 million.
Recover your Investment Losses
The White Law Group continues to investigate the liability that Merrill Lynch may have for failure to properly supervise Tom Buck.
Broker dealers have a fiduciary duty to monitor all the business transactions of their employees. When a broker violates securities regulations and the broker dealer is found to be liable for negligent supervision, the firm can may be held liable for investment losses.
Have you suffered losses as a result of investments recommended to you by former Merrill Lynch financial advisor Tom Buck? If so, please call the securities attorneys of 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 with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Vero Beach, Florida.
For more information on The White Law Group, please visit our website at www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.