Investment Advisor and Broker/Dealer Fraud, Misrepresentation and Mismanagement FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.

March, 2012:

SEC v. Andrew Franz, Civil Action No. 5:12-cv-0064 (N.D. Ohio) (J. Pearson)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) recently announced the filing of a complaint alleging fraud charges against Andrew Franz (“Franz”), a resident of Aurora, Ohio. According to the Complaint, Franz operated a fraudulent scheme in which, through forgery and other fraudulent means, he misappropriated approximately $865,969 from clients of Ruby Corporation (“Ruby”), a registered investment adviser with which he was associated, including $779,418 from family members and $86,551 from other clients. The Commission’ complaint also alleges that Franz misappropriated approximately $172,000 from Ruby itself by stealing legitimate client fees payable to Ruby. The complaint also alleges that during this same time period, Franz returned approximately $684,000 to Ruby disguised as client fees to conceal the firm’s dwindling client base and revenues. The complaint alleges that Franz thus kept a net of approximately $354,000 in funds stolen from these sources.

In addition, the complaint alleges that in November 2011, despite no longer having access to Ruby’s client files or systems, Franz was able to successfully obtain a fraudulent distribution from a Ruby client account. The complaint alleges that Franz obtained this distribution check through two phone conversations during which he falsely identified himself to be the broker of record and then the chairman of the client corporation. The complaint also alleges that when Franz attempted to deposit the fraudulently obtained check, Franz’s bank stopped the transaction.

At the SEC’s request for emergency relief, the Hon. Benita Y. Pearson, United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, issued an emergency injunction against Franz, an order freezing all assets under Franz’s control, and other emergency relief.