A former Royal Alliance broker could face up to 20 years in prison for allegedly stealing more than $4 million over several years from four elderly clients.
Gary Basralian, a Springfield, N.J.-based broker who resigned from Royal Alliance in December, was indicted and arrested Wednesday on two counts of wire fraud and one count of investment adviser fraud, according to the criminal complaint.
Mr. Basralian, 70, who joined Royal Alliance Associates in 1989, was barred from the industry in March by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.
In addition to the criminal charges against Mr. Basralian, both he and Royal Alliance are being sued for more than $8 million by the four women accusing the former broker of stealing their money.
"Gary Basralian is just a bad apple," said Adam Gana, an attorney representing one of the victims.
"He was preying on elderly women who didn't have a lot of family, and stealing money from them," Mr. Gana added. "Some of the money was taken directly from their Royal Alliance accounts."
Attorneys for Mr. Basralian and Royal Alliance did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Royal Alliance said the firm is not able to comment on pending litigation.
According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Basralian had been working with one of the victims from nearly 30 years. At some point, the former broker allegedly started depositing the client's checks directly into his personal accounts.
The complaint sites an example in May 2016 when Mr. Basralian transferred $200,000 from a client's account into his personal account.
A second victim, who had suffered a brain injury in 1989, started raising questions about the value of her account last year, to the complaint said. According to the complaint, Mr. Basralian had been skimming money from the woman's account since at least 2009.
"My client showed me the phony spreadsheet he gave her, and when I called him he said he wanted to pay the money back," said Jonathan Kurta, an attorney with Fitapelli Kurta, who represents three of the victims.
"I gave him a week to pay the money back [in December], and that's the last I heard from him," Mr. Kurta said.