A former Wells Fargo broker in Ohio has been charged with 128 felony counts in connection to a $1 million Ponzi scheme, according to prosecutors.
The broker, John G. Schmidt, 67, worked at Wells Fargo Advisors from December 2006 to November 2017, according to his BrokerCheck report. He was charged last Thursday with 124 counts of forgery; two counts of theft from an elderly or disabled adult; one count of telecommunications fraud; and one count of fraud or deceit by an investment adviser, according to a statement from the office of the prosecuting attorney of Montgomery County, Ohio.
"For years, this defendant defrauded a number of investors, many of them elderly or with dementia," said the prosecuting attorney Mat Heck Jr. in the statement. "He had to keep stealing from more investors in order to cover for the thefts from other investors."
Mr. Schmidt also allegedly created and falsified financial statements to investors. In addition, he allegedly sold securities without the knowledge or authorization of the investors, and the defendant received commissions on those transactions of nearly a quarter?million dollars.
Mr. Schmidt did not return a call to his office at Schmidt Investment Strategies Group. His attorney, Steven T. Pierson, also did not return a call.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. barred Mr. Schmidt last March and the Securities and Exchange Commission in September charged him with defrauding retail brokerage clients of $1 million.
"At Wells Fargo we hold all advisers to the highest ethical standards," said spokesperson Shea Leordeanu in an email. "We fully cooperated with all regulatory and law enforcement investigations regarding this formerly affiliated adviser."