Former Merrill Lynch financial adviser accused of stealing $500K from clients September 10, 2009Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
Tags: theft by deception
Its not a good time to be a financial advisor with a bad track record. Law suits and arrests may be around the corner. However, this case seems to have some actual substance behind it.
Stephen Severio, a former Merrill Lynch financial adviser from Fair Haven was indicted today on charges he stole more than $500,000. He is charged with theft by deception, misappropriation of entrusted funds, commercial bribery and attempted theft by deception.
Severio was a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch in Red Bank for five years. The State alleges that he started advising some of his clients two years ago to withdraw their funds from the firm’s accounts and reinvest them outside the company. This practice is a violation of industry standards and of Merrill Lynch policy according to the State.
He allegedly told clients that he could get them in investment vehicles outside Merrill Lynch that would yield annual returns of between 15 and 20 percent. However, instead of investing the money they gave him, he allegedly cashed their checks at a check-cashing business.
The State suspects that he spent the money on drugs. Red Bank police records allegedly show Severio and two 21-year-old women were arrested on July 6, 2008 on charges of cocaine possession. If I’m his attorney, I’m going with the drug defense here. Unless this press release is way off base, its his best shot at staying out of prison. He needs to get into rehab now if he hasn’t done so already.
Story is here.