A former advisor with Raymond James Financial Services was kicked out of the industry for life for allegedly stealing nearly $1 million from a 95-year-old client, according to a FINRA filing this week.
FINRA alleges that Jo Ellen Fisher, a financial advisor registered with Raymond James in Gallipolis, Ohio, transferred securities and funds worth over $924,000 from the client's trust account to her daughter's brokerage account, and then used the funds to renovate and pay the mortgage on her home and buy big-ticket items, including a truck, three cars and expensive watches and jewelry.
The alleged activity occurred between July 5, 2013 and December 13, 2013, FINRA said.
FINRA also alleges that Fisher created a "godparent's certificate," falsely claiming that her daughter was the client's goddaughter, and falsified client notes to create the impression that the elderly customer intended to gift the money to her daughter. The godparent's certificate bore a signature purportedly belonging to a reverend.
Fisher assumed responsibility for the brokerage account from another registered representative who retired, according to FINRA's filing. She took over the account in March of 2013.
According to BrokerCheck, she worked for People's Bank, which uses Raymond James as its third-party broker dealer.
Fisher could not be reached for comment. In her settlement with FINRA, Fisher neither admitted nor denied the allegations, but consented to an entry of FINRA's findings.
The filing indicates Raymond James terminated her employment in May of 2014, upon discovering the misconduct. In addition, the firm promptly filed a lawsuit against Fisher, moving to have a federal court freeze her bank accounts, according to an article in The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington, W.Va.
In the lawsuit, Raymond James noted that Fisher's misconduct coincided with the client's admission into a nursing home, where he suffered a stroke, The Herald-Dispatch reported. The client also suffers from dementia. The lawsuit also noted that Fisher is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US. Attorney's Office in southern Ohio.
Shereen McCall, a spokesperson for Raymond James, declined to comment on the matter.