The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has filed a complaint against a Raymond James financial advisor who allegedly took advantage of an elderly client with diminished capacity and attempted to swindle $1.8 million dollars from her estate.
The official FINRA complaint alleges that John Waszolek – who was a financial advisor at UBS Wealth Management at the time of the incident - knew that his 81-year-old customer had been diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease and consequently suffered from dementia and memory loss. By the end of 2007, the victim had become frail, withdrawn, isolated and would often forget with whom she was speaking on telephone calls.
Yet it was only at this time that Waszolek forged a friendship with this woman, known only by her initials as "JL." She moved into an assisted living facility due to her declining health in 2008. Soon thereafter, Waszolek himself took JL to a doctor's appointment where they were both present for her diagnosis.
He subsequently met with two different estate planning attorneys to amend her Trust and appoint him as successor trustee and residual beneficiary. He ultimately succeeded, and the day after JL Trust Amendment was effected, he resigned from UBS and registered with Morgan Stanley. The JL Trust Account was subsequently transferred to Morgan Stanley, where he remained the broker of record on the account. And at no time did he ever disclose his role as as the beneficiary of the Trust to either firm.
Despite the allegations of elder abuse, fraud and failure to disclose pertinent information and conflicts of interest, Waszolek is still gainfully employed at Raymond James - and is once again providing financial advice to everyday investors.
Senior investor fraud is endemic amongst the third-tier, transactional broker-dealers of the world- but it is especially disconcerting that a financial advisor from a reputable firm such as UBS would plan such an abhorrent scheme.
Even more alarming is the fact that Waszolek was acting in the capacity of a financial advisor - who, by law, is obligated to abide by a strong fiduciary standard to only make recommendations that are in the best interest of a client. In other words, he knew better. Instead, he saw an opportunity and he seized upon it. If you are interested in his services, he even has his own page on the Raymond James website: "Waszolek Wealth Strategies."
At Cold Spring Advisory, we see third-tier brokers taking advantage of older investors every day. If you, or someone you know is older in age and being taken advantage of by a broker, call (212) 566-6060 to see if you have a case.