Gerald Eaton, Commonwealth Financial Network, Acton, MA
Authorities Allege Gerald Eaton Stole $3.7 Million from 20 Clients
According to an article in Patch.com yesterday, financial advisor Gerald Eaton, of Acton, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $3.7 million from more than 20 clients over a 10-year period.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a press release that Eaton, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on Wednesday and is scheduled to be sentenced in early 2021.
According to the complaint, Eaton invested client funds in securities and various insurance products through his business as a certified planner at the Heritage Financial Group. The complaint alleged that between 1999 and 2019, Eaton stole nearly $4 million from clients’ accounts and purportedly transferred the proceeds to accounts that he either owned or personally controlled.
Eaton also purportedly forged clients’ signatures on checks and other financial documents or convinced clients to sign documents that he said would lead to proceeds that would benefit his clients financially. Instead, the complaint said he shuffled money to his personal credit card accounts and a home equity line of credit. According to the complaint, Eaton allegedly targeted clients who were elderly and were in poor physical or mental condition or those he did not believe would notice the missing funds.
Authorities further claimed that Eaton also lied to his firm and to various insurance companies that the transactions he was brokering were being carried out to benefit his clients.
Eaton reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison for the mail and wire fraud charges along with three years of supervised probation and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain/loss, whichever is greater, according to the article. The identity theft charge carries a two-year sentence, which would be served consecutive to any other prison sentence, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 and restitution.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Eaton was registered with Commonwealth Financial Network in Acton, MA for 24 years until he was discharged in 2019 for allegations of “Forgery. Wrongful taking of property.” The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority reportedly barred Eaton in November 2019 from associating with any FINRA member at any time. The SEC has also reported barred Eaton from working in the securities industry.
Filing a Complaint against your Brokerage Firm
When brokers abuse client accounts or conduct transactions that violate securities laws, the brokerage firm they are working with may be liable for investment losses. Brokerage firms that fail to monitor the business activities of their employees may be liable for investment losses due to negligent supervision for the misconduct of their employees.
If you are concerned about investments with Gerald Eaton, the securities attorneys of The White Law Group may be able to help you. For a free consultation with a securities attorney, please call 888-637-5510.
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