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Investor Alert – Bergen County, NJ Broker Arrested, Barred From The Securities Industry, For Stealing Money From Elderly Clients

Jeffrey Howard Palish, formerly employed by Wells Fargo in Paramus, NJ, was recently arrested by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and barred by FINRA. The authorities accuse Palish of theft of funds from several senior citizen clients.

Palish first entered the securities industry in 1986 when he was hired at McLaughlin Piven. He then worked at UBS, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley again before joining Wells Fargo in August 2010. His BrokerCheck report indicates that Wells Fargo discharged him in November 2017 when the firm learned that he had accepted money from an elderly customer and later made misstatements to the firm about that transaction.

FINRA’s letter of acceptance waiver and consent (“AWC”), dated February 23, 2018 indicates that Palish consented to FINRA’s findings that he accepted more than $180,00 over three years from an elderly female client without the ability or intent of ever repaying the client.

Local media reports further indicate that the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Palish with stealing close to $1 million from several elderly clients. According to the prosecutor’s office, he stole approximately $600,000 over four years from the senior citizens’ brokerage accounts. He also stole another $300,000 from the clients by means of 40 unauthorized wire transfers from the clients’ bank accounts. He used those funds to pay off his personal credit card debt.

The financial abuse of senior citizens remains an intractable problem in the securities industry. FINRA has recently enacted new regulations in an effort to stem instances of fraud committed against senior investors. Notwithstanding the increased senior citizen fraud prevention awareness, the commission of financial fraud against seniors is all too common (see here, here and here).

Seniors must take an active role in their financial affairs. They should regularly review activity in their accounts with their financial advisors. If they are not capable of doing so, they should enlist the aid of a close family member to help monitor the activity in their bank and brokerage accounts.

If you are a senior citizen who has questions concerning your brokerage account, or you have questions or concerns about your elderly relative’s account, contact the experienced securities attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo for a consultation. We can assist any senior citizen in understanding transactions in their account and determining if she has been a victim of fraudulent or otherwise improper activity.

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