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Written by 7:53 pm Blog, Broker Investigations

Helen Caldwell Faces Fraud Charges after FINRA Bar

Helen Caldwell barred by securities regualtor, featured by top securiities fraud attorneys, The White Law Group

Ex-Citigroup Advisor Helen Caldwell: Lawsuits Filed after Allegations

The White Law Group continues to investigate claims involving Helen Caldwell and Citigroup Global Markets. Our firm is currently representing investors in claims against Citigroup for allegations of high risk, unsuitable investments.

On January 18, 2024, former Citi financial advisor Helen Grace Caldwell, based in Chicago,was facing charges for allegedly swindling clients of close to $1.5 million by enticing them to invest in her film projects.

Prosecutors claim that Caldwell, a bank senior financial advisor, established Canal Productions LLC to produce movies and solicited bank clients, including elderly individuals, to invest, concealing that the funds would benefit her personally.

Helen Caldwell Accused of Defrauding Clients

Caldwell allegedly persuaded victims to liquidate assets for the purported movie investments. The Justice Department accuses Caldwell of defrauding three clients and notes that wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Although the bank where she worked is not named, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency barred Caldwell from federally insured institutions.

FINRA had previously barred her from acting as a broker, citing inadequate disclosure of outside business activity and solicitation of firm clients to invest in that activity. Caldwell, who resigned from Citi in November 2021, briefly worked at Wells Fargo, where she was discharged following an internal review. The Internet Movie Database lists her as a producer, director, and actress.

Securities Regulator Bars Helen Caldwell

   The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the regulator who oversees brokers and brokerage firms, reportedly barred financial advisor Helen Caldwell from the securities industry as of July 6, 2023. Caldwell reportedly refused to provide information in FINRA’s investigation.

Two of Caldwell’s former employers, Citigroup and Wells Fargo each allegedly reported that she was involved in “Outside Business Activities,” against firm and FINRA rules. According to her broker report, since 2013 Caldwell has been the owner of Canal Productions, a film production company.

Wells Fargo Dismissal

Wells Fargo, Caldwell’s member firm reportedly discharged her last September “following an internal review concerning the accuracy of disclosures that [Caldwell] made to the Firm and [Caldwell’s] compliance with the Firm’s Outside Activities and Outside Investment Policy.”

Previously, Caldwell was registered as a General Securities Representative with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. from July 3, 2012, to November 12, 2021, when she voluntarily resigned from the firm. On April 4, 2022, Citigroup filed an amended Form U5 disclosing that it was internally reviewing whether Caldwell had “adequately disclosed outside business activity and solicited firm clients to invest in her film production business.”

On August 10, 2022, Citigroup filed an amended Form U5 disclosing that its internal review had concluded that Caldwell “did not adequately disclose her outside business activity and was soliciting firm clients to invest in her outside business activity, several of whom subsequently made investments.”

The Problem with Outside Business Activities 

The problem with brokers engaging in outside business activities that are against FINRA and firm rules lies in the potential conflicts of interest and risks it poses to investors. FINRA and brokerage firms have established rules and regulations to ensure that brokers prioritize the best interests of their clients and maintain the integrity of the financial industry. When brokers engage in undisclosed or unauthorized outside business activities, several issues arise: 

  • Conflicts of Interest: Brokers have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. Engaging in outside business activities without proper disclosure creates potential conflicts of interest. Brokers may be motivated by personal financial gain from these activities, which can compromise their ability to provide objective advice and recommendations. 
  • Divided Attention: Outside business activities can divert a broker’s attention and time away from their primary responsibilities to clients. Juggling multiple businesses or ventures may result in a lack of focus on managing client portfolios effectively, conducting thorough research, and providing the necessary attention to clients’ needs. 
  • Unauthorized Investment Offerings: Brokers may use their position of trust and authority to solicit investments in ventures that are not approved or offered by their brokerage firm. This practice, known as “selling away,” violates regulatory rules and exposes investors to investments that have not undergone proper due diligence or received necessary approvals. 
  • Lack of Supervision: When brokers engage in undisclosed outside business activities, it becomes challenging for brokerage firms to adequately supervise and monitor their actions. This lack of oversight increases the risk of potential misconduct, such as fraud, unauthorized trading, or other violations of securities laws. 

Helen Caldwell – FINRA BrokerCheck Profile   

The FINRA BrokerCheck tool is a free online tool that allows investors to research and verify the background and credentials of financial brokers, brokerage firms, and investment advisors registered with FINRA.   

BrokerCheck provides investors with detailed information about the professional history, qualifications, and regulatory actions of brokers and brokerage firms. Investors can use the tool to verify whether a broker or brokerage firm is registered with FINRA, as well as to review their employment history, licensing status, and any regulatory actions or complaints filed against them.   

According to her FINRA BrokerCheck profile, Caldwell has three customer complaints on her record. She was reportedly affiliated as a broker with the following firms among others during her thirty-year career:  

11/10/2021 – 09/15/2022, WELLS FARGO CLEARING SERVICES, LLC (CRD#:19616), CHICAGO, IL,
B, 07/03/2012 – 11/12/2021, CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC. (CRD#:7059), CHICAGO, IL

Class Action vs. Individual FINRA Arbitration Lawsuit 

People often wonder whether a large class action lawsuit is a better litigation option for them than an individual FINRA arbitration case.  The answer depends on many factors, but typically if the loss sustained is large (say larger than $100,000), an individual arbitration claim is likely a better option.  Class actions as a recovery option are more appropriate for grouping large numbers of individuals who have small claims – too small to generally pursue individually. 

Free Consultation

If you have suffered losses investing with Helen Caldwell, the securities attorneys at the White Law Group may be able to help you. For a free consultation with a securities attorney, please call (888) 637-5510.
The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm dedicated to helping investors in claims in all 50 states against their financial professional or brokerage firm. Since the firm launched in 2010, it has handled over 700 FINRA arbitration cases.      

Our firm represents investors in all types of securities related claims, including claims involving stock fraud, broker misrepresentation, churning, unsuitable investmentsselling away, and unauthorized trading, among many others.       









Tags: , Last modified: May 22, 2024