SEC Charges LA-Based Firm With Overbilling Clients

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged a Los-Angeles based investment advisory firm and its owner with fraudulently overbilling clients and stealing assets from their trusts to pay such personal expenses as his home mortgage, overseas trips, and leases on two Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

According to the report from the SEC, the agency alleged that Marc D. Broidy and his firm, Broidy Wealth Advisors, obtained more than $1.4 million in ill-gotten gains since February 2011.

Broidy allegedly billed clients roughly $643,000 in excess fees and covered it up by altering the amount of management fees recorded on forms issued by brokerage firms before sending the forms to his clients.

The SEC further alleged that Broidy fraudulently obtained additional funds to pay his personal expenses by misappropriating approximately $865,000 in assets from clients’ trusts for which he was trustee.

The agency went on to say that Broidy also misled advisory clients about some investments they made in privately held companies when he didn’t inform them he was affiliated with those companies.

Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, commented:

As alleged in our complaint, Broidy fell well short of his fiduciary obligations as an investment adviser by misappropriating money and failing to disclose important conflicts of interest to his clients.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced criminal charges against Broidy.