Senior and Other Vulnerable Victims of Fraud and Theft FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Ralph Edward Thomas Jr. (CRD #2179751, Registered Representative, Reisterstown, Maryland) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Restitution is being required in connection with a separate criminal proceeding against Thomas arising from the same conduct. Without admitting or denying the findings, Thomas consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that he misappropriated more than $800,000 from vulnerable customers. The findings stated that a trust account was established for the benefit of a child with the proceeds of a $3 million medical malpractice settlement on the child’s behalf. The child’s relative was appointed guardian and trustee; the settlement proceeds were used to purchase an annuity for the child’s benefit. The findings also stated that Thomas convinced the relative to move the trust account to the institutions where he worked and he advised her on both the brokerage and banking accounts. The findings also included that Thomas executed a scheme to obtain money through false pretenses by establishing complete control over the brokerage and banking accounts in the customer’s trust account. Thomas ensured that the annuity payments which averaged $6,287.53 per month were deposited directly into the bank trust account; Thomas disbursed only $1,000 to $1,500 a month from the trust account for the child’s care and converted the remainder of the money for his benefit. FINRA found that Thomas withdrew money from the trust account by obtaining the relative’s signature on blank withdrawal slips and used the signed withdrawal slips to withdraw money from the bank trust account and purchase cashier’s checks, which were made payable to other financial institutions where Thomas held personal accounts. Thomas went to the bank numerous times to withdraw a total of $756,963.98 from the bank trust account, which he converted for his personal benefit. Thomas also converted $12,500 from the mother’s personal bank account. FINRA also found that Thomas was the financial advisor for an elderly customer with an account at his member firm. Thomas withdrew $42,000 from an annuity held by the customer in her account with him, without the customer’s knowledge, and used the withdrawn funds to purchase cashier’s checks made payable to cash or to credit card companies where he, not the customer, held accounts. (FINRA Case #2010022861802).