The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the alleged misconduct of securities broker Kerry Wills. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Kerry Wills has been the subject of a FINRA sanction.
Kerry Wills is a California based securities broker. He has worked in the securities industry for thirty-four years. During his career, he has been registered with four different securities firms.
- Dean Witter Reynolds (1985-1992)
- Citigroup Global Markets (1992-2009)
- Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (2009)
- First Western Securities (2009-Present)
According to the FINRA findings, Kerry Wills directly violated his member firm’s policy regarding soliciting loans from member firm customers. This took place when Wills allegedly borrowed $150,000 from his 90 year old customer. The loan was to be repaid in yearly installments over a ten year period at a two percent interest rate. Kerry Wills allegedly never disclosed the loan to his member firm or asked for an exemption to the policy. The customer in question passed away six months after receiving the first installment–a check which was never even cashed. The customer had left behind a trust document that forgave the loan at which time the customer passes away. This not only let Kerry Wills off the hook for the entire $150,000, but also for the interest the customer was entitled to. Wills also allegedly accepted a $20,000 gift from the customer used for luxury travel. According to the findings, this gift was never disclosed to his member firm. Due to these alleged actions, Kerry Wills was fined $10,000 and was suspended by FINRA from acting as a securities broker in any fashion for a period of six months.
What Does This Mean?
Most securities firms forbid their registered brokers from soliciting loans from their customers for a number of reasons. The main reason is the power dynamic between the investor and the broker. While brokers cannot execute trades on an investor’s behalf without their authorization, the broker still holds an incredible deal of power in the relationship. This is because they are the authority figure in the relationship. Some brokers might easily abuse this status to persuade investors into loaning them money against their (the customer) best financial interests. Securities brokers have the status, experience, and knowledge to manipulate a personal loan in their favor. The allegations described above paint a picture of a securities broker who manipulated his customer into not only loaning him money, but letting him off the hook for repaying it. Securities firms are supposed to adequately monitor their registered brokers to prevent them from perpetrating actions like those described above.
Oakes & Fosher Can Help
Many investors are unaware of the legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or negligence. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion may actually be entitled to damages.
Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with Kerry Wills, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation. We work on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees charged unless we collect for you.