Mathew Clason, a former investment advisor and registered representative previously affiliated with Lincoln Financial and LPL Financial during his career, pled guilty earlier this week to one count of wire fraud after stealing more than $600,000 from a client.
According to court documents and statements made in a Connecticut district court, beginning in approximately 2015, Clason provided investment services to a 73-year-old Connecticut woman who had at least five investment accounts with him.
In January 2018, Clason and the victim opened a joint bank account. Over the next two years, he reportedly transferred more than $668,000 from her investment accounts into the shared account and, without her knowledge or authorization, withdrew more than $621,000 in cash for his personal use. He also used the joint account to pay his credit card and to make transfers into his personal bank account.
As previously reported by The DI Wire, the SEC filed an emergency action last September and sought to freeze Clason’s assets, who remained a joint signatory on the account at that time. The SEC claimed that the client, who does not drive, has limited mobility, and other health conditions, believed she had more than $1 million in assets in her five accounts, when she actually had approximately $482,000.
Clason reportedly established the joint account for “investment purposes,” and so that he could make cash withdrawals of a few hundred dollars at her request to cover miscellaneous monthly expenses. The SEC noted that there were 45 transfers out of her advisory account, the bulk of which were funded by the sale of securities, unbeknownst to the client.
According to his BrokerCheck profile, Clason was affiliated with LPL from 2016 to 2020, and with Lincoln Financial for nearly 10 years prior. He was fired from LPL in August 2020 for “maintaining a joint bank account with a firm customer, engaging in liquidations of securities in a customer’s account, transferring funds to a joint bank account, and withdrawing funds.”
Clason was barred by FINRA in September 2020 for failing to cooperate with their investigation into his termination from LPL.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shea scheduled sentencing for August 5, 2021. Clason faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and was released on bond pending sentencing.