Ex-LPL Broker Jonathan Cooke found liable in Annuities Fraud Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission has won a jury trial against former LPL Financial broker Jonathan Cooke after the regulator charged him with defrauding hundreds of government employees.
According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in 2017, Cooke, a former registered representative of LPL Financial, and his firm, Keystone Capital Partners, allegedly defrauded federal workers nearing retirement by selling them variable-annuity products. Cooke purportedly misrepresented himself and his company as working for the government to explain to employees their benefit options.
After a nine-day trial in the Northern District of Georgia, the jury reportedly found that Cooke’s representations were fraudulent, and that instead of helping federal workers navigate their benefit options, he convinced them to roll over funds from their federal Thrift Savings Plan retirement accounts to purchase higher-fee variable annuity products.
Cooke was one of four brokers who were charged in the complaint, and the other brokers reportedly settled charges against them.
Keystone Capital Partners reportedly sold close to 200 variable annuities valued at $40 million under the name Federal Employee Benefits Counselors, according to the SEC’s complaint. Cooke and the others reportedly netted about $1.7 million in commissions from the allegedly fraudulent annuity sales.
The regulator alleged that Cooke misled potential investors about the fees they would receive and played down the risk, while promising guaranteed investment returns.
The jury reportedly found Cooke and his firm liable for the alleged violations.
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Tags: annuities fraud scheme, Ex-LPL Broker Jonathan Cooke, Federal Employees Benefit Counselors, Keystone Capital Partners, securities fraud attorneys, VA sales fraud Last modified: March 25, 2022