The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. recently filed a complaint against a broker who allegedly took advantage of a client with Alzheimer’s disease in an attempt to inherit nearly $2 million.
The regulator said that in 2009 John Waszolek, who was at UBS Wealth Management at the time, allegedly “took unfair advantage” of an 81-year-old client, identified only by the initials JL, by having her assign him the role of beneficiary for her trust — even though he knew she “lacked testamentary capacity” and was “completely unable to protect herself from exploitation.”
According to the complaint, JL, a widow who lived alone in Arizona, had been a client of Mr. Waszolek since 1982. FINRA alleges that in 2008, as JL’s condition continued to decline, Mr. Waszolek drove her to a doctor’s appointment where she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A month later, he met with an estate planning attorney to have himself named as JL’s agent and to give him power of attorney. In addition, her trust was allegedly amended to name him as a residual beneficiary.
According to FINRA, when the attorney declined because of JL’s capacity issue, Mr. Waszolek referred her to a second attorney to amend the trust and appoint him as a beneficiary. According to the amendment, around $1.3 million that was set to be split among four charities would go to Mr. Waszolek.
The complaint alleged that the day after the amendment took effect, Mr. Waszolek resigned from UBS after 30 years at the firm and transferred his business to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
According to his U-5, Waszolek was later discharged by Morgan Stanley for “concerns regarding failure to follow policies and disclosures regarding a client’s testamentary bequest to the adviser.”
Mr. Waszolek ultimately did not receive any of the $1.8 million from the trust.
The foregoing information, which is all publicly available, is being provided by The White Law Group. The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, and investor protection law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Vero Beach, Florida.
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