Massachusetts Charges Former Commonwealth Adviser with Allegedly Stealing from Retiree

The Massachusetts Securities Division has charged a former investment adviser who allegedly withdrew nearly $100,000 from a client’s accounts over a 13-year period.

Bruce Colin Worthington is charged with fraudulently misappropriating the investment funds of a retiree and using those funds for personal use. Worthington was affiliated with Founders Financial Securities for roughly five years, and before that, he spent approximately 14 years with Commonwealth Financial Network.

According to the administrative complaint, Worthington began diverting funds in 2006 from the accounts of a client who was preparing for retirement. The regulators claim that he concealed his scheme by providing his client with falsified documents that showed the diverted funds had generated substantial returns.

“The allegations laid out in our complaint are very serious,” Galvin said. “In addition to doing everything we can to try to get this investor’s money back, my office will be referring this matter to federal law enforcement.”

Though Worthington’s previous employer, Commonwealth Financial, terminated his employment in 2013 over concerns about his credit history, he never notified his client of his termination. Further, Worthington failed to notify the client that he was subsequently employed by Founders Financial Securities for nearly four years, the complaint states.

Founders Financial terminated its relationship with Worthington in September 2018 after concerns arose about his receipt and disposition of customer funds prior to his association with the firm.

According to the complaint, Worthington employed stalling tactics to convince his client that the funds were not yet available for withdrawal when the investor began preparing for retirement. Eventually, the complaint states, he stopped responding to inquiries from the investor, who has not been able to contact Worthington since April 2018.

Worthington failed to appear before the Massachusetts Securities Division when commanded by subpoena in December 2018. The state regulators are seeking restitution, censure, a cease and desist order, an administrative fine, and an order permanently barring Worthington from registering as an investment adviser representative or broker-dealer agent in Massachusetts.

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