An adviser in Massachusetts has been charged by state regulators with a real estate scheme that defrauded investors out of at least $1 million over the past 26 years.
In addition to charging Thomas T. Riquier with violating state securities laws, Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin also charged his employer, United Planners' Financial Services of America, with failure to supervise him. Mr. Riquier worked out of the firm's office in Danvers, Mass.
The administrative complaint states that Mr. Riquier solicited money from clients and others, a majority of whom are elderly, to purchase property in Rowley, Mass., which investors were told would then be sold for a profit. The complaint states the investments instead were used to purchase property already owned by Mr. Riquier. To date, "that property has not been sold, has not been improved, and has not provided any returns on the money invested," according to the complaint.
"This scheme has been going on for so long that many of the original investors and clients have died while the remaining elderly investors have not seen a penny returned on their 26-year-old investment," the complaint states.
The complaint further alleges that Mr. Riquier solicited more than $800,000 in private loans from his clients, in violation of state and federal law.
According to the complaint, United Planners employed Mr. Riquier's son-in-law to supervise him and failed to appropriately monitor their agent's actions.
"Despite knowing that Mr. Riquier was conducting business with his clients, United Planners failed to perform even the most basic of due diligence which would have revealed the extent of his fraudulent activity," the complaint states.
The complaint seeks a cease and desist order, censure, and administrative fine, and the revocation of Mr. Riquier's registrations as an investment adviser agent and broker-dealer in Massachusetts. The state is also seeking an order requiring Mr. Riquier to pay restitution to compensate investors for their losses under the scheme.