The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) permanently barred Kirkland, Washington broker Rhonda Lee Breard from the securities industry for defrauding at least 38 clients out of at least $8 million. Breard used a scheme that involved using client money for her personal use while sending fake account statements to her customers.
“FINRA will continue to use its resources and authority to swiftly remove bad brokers from the securities industry, especially those who steal from their clients,” said James S. Shorris, FINRA Executive Vice President and Executive Director of Enforcement.
As part of the scheme – which she carried out from at least 2006 until February 2010 – Breard convinced her clients to liquidate their existing investments and use the proceeds to purchase different investments, including mutual funds and annuities. Breard was registered as a broker with ING Financial Partners and also had her own investment advisory firm, Breard & Associates. In response to her requests, her clients made checks payable to her investment advisory firm, which she deposited in a bank account that she controlled. Rather than purchase other investments for her clients, she kept the money for her personal use.
To hide her misconduct, Breard created and sent false account statements to her clients. The fake account statements falsely reflected that the clients owned securities and other investments.