A former Cetera Advisor Networks broker who defrauded clients out of more than $1 million has been sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud and bank fraud earlier this year.
According to court documents, David Aaron Rockwell managed investment and retirement accounts for his clients and started defrauding his clients and misappropriating their funds beginning in October 2017.
Rockwell was accused of persuading one client to invest in low-income housing in Florida, and once the client transferred approximately $400,000 to fund the investment, he used the money to pay his personal credit cards and to purchase a home.
He was also found guilty of defrauding a federally insured bank when he applied for two lines of credit totaling $700,000 in the names of his clients, without their knowledge or permission. The Department of Justice claims that he forged clients’ signatures on loan applications and pledged their assets as collateral.
Rockwell spent three years at Cetera before being discharged in 2018 after notifying the firm that he had been charged with a felony. According to his BrokerCheck profile, he was charged with aggravated stalking in September 2018. He reportedly pled guilty to an amended charge and the case was later dismissed.
After Cetera, he was discharged from World Choice Securities Inc. for what is likely the fraudulent low-income housing deal for which he was convicted. The firm stated on his BrokerCheck profile, “While at a previous broker-dealer, customer established and funded an LLC with $400,000 and then transferred same to an LLC established by Rockwell for the purpose of (a) real estate deal(s) allegedly never made. No specific dates were given but implied 2016 to 2018.”
Rockwell was barred by FINRA in November 2019 for failing to respond to their requests for information.