SEC bars former LPL broker who pleaded guilty to $4.9 million Ponzi

Norwalk, Conn., financial professional preyed on elderly clients

Nov 4, 2019 @ 4:34 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Friday barred from the securities industry a former LPL Financial broker who operated a Ponzi scheme that preyed on elderly clients.

The agency's action came after James T. Booth pleaded guilty Oct. 22 in a New York federal court to one count of securities fraud.

The indictment alleged that Mr. Booth misappropriated approximately $4.9 million from approximately 40 investors. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. had previously barred Mr. Booth.

"Many of [Mr.] Booth's clients and customers were unsophisticated investors, including seniors who ultilized [Mr.] Booth's services for their retirement savings," states the Sept. 30 SEC complaint filed in a Connecticut federal court.

Mr. Booth, 74, lives in Norwalk, Conn., and is the owner of Booth Financial Associates. He was registered with LPL from February 2018 until the firm fired him in May. Mr. Booth was registered with Invest Financial Corp. from December 2005 through February 2018.

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Mr. Booth told his clients their funds would be used to purchase securities. Instead, he used the money to pay for business and personal expenses, including trips to casinos, and to pay other investors he lured into the rip-off.

He conducted the Ponzi scheme from 2014 through 2019. The indictment says he made false promises of safe investments with high returns.

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Among his victims was a recently widowed elderly investor who gave him money she had received from her late husband's pension. Another senior investor withdrew money from an annuity he created to care for a disabled sibling in order to invest with Mr. Booth.

Mr. Booth had 34 regulatory disclosures during 28 years in the industry working for six firms, according to his BrokerCheck profile.

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