Home Alts News SEC Charges Former Cetera Rep with Defrauding Elderly Investor of $2.4 Million

SEC Charges Former Cetera Rep with Defrauding Elderly Investor of $2.4 Million

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against Clarice Saw, a former registered representative with Cetera Investment Advisors, for allegedly defrauding a customer of approximately $2.4 million. Saw is currently registered with Coastal Equities.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that between December 2021 and March 2022, while Saw was associated with Cetera, she engaged in a fraudulent scheme and misappropriated approximately $2.4 million from a brokerage customer, an 87-year-old retiree previously employed as a janitor. The customer is an immigrant to the United States who does not speak, read or understand English with no living immediate family members.

According to BrokerCheck, Saw was with New York-based Citigroup Global Markets from November 2016 to September 2021 and with LPL Financial from December 2012 before joining Citigroup. In December 2020, Saw directed the customer to sign a document–written entirely in English, which Saw falsely represented to the customer to be a healthcare proxy. However, the document was a general power-of-attorney designating Saw as the customer’s agent.

In September 2021, according to Saw’s LinkedIn page, the advisor joined Cathay Wealth Management, a Cetera Investment Services-affiliated advisory, as a financial advisor and vice president. According to the SEC complaint, Saw convinced the customer to move his brokerage account as well.

On November 21, 2021, the customer was severely injured, and remained hospitalized until December 7, 2021. Thereafter, he was transferred to a nursing home to recover, where he remained until July 6, 2022, after which he returned to his personal residence.

The complaint alleges that after this, Saw liquidated all of the customer’s securities holdings without the customer’s consent, and then transferred all of the investment proceeds to her own personal bank and brokerage accounts. The complaint further alleges that Saw used a portion of the misappropriated funds to pay for her personal expenses, including approximately $100,000 in car and mortgage payments and thousands of dollars of cash withdrawals, and that Saw used additional misappropriated funds to purchase securities in her own personal brokerage account.

According to BrokerCheck, on May 31, 2021, Cathay terminated Saw, and she voluntarily resigned from Cetera. She joined Coastal Investment Advisors on Oct. 31, 2022, as a dually registered representative.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, charges Saw with violating the antifraud provisions of the SEC. The SEC seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement with prejudgment interest and civil penalties.

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