The Massachusetts Securities Division filed an administrative complaint on December 1st against LPL Financial LLC and its broker and investment adviser Roger S. Zullo (CRD# 1882087) for allegedly selling healthcare workers and retirees costly, unsuitable, and illiquid variable annuities, the sales of which earned him $1.8 million in commissions.
According to the complaint, Zullo made-up the suitability profiles of numerous LPL Financial clients, selling them large, illiquid, unsuitable, high-commission variable annuities, at substantial upfront profits to himself and LPL Financial. In one of the cases detailed in the document, Zullo allegedly moved a client into a “deferred” annuity in 2015 – she was 80 years old at the time of the transaction, and the move would not provide her any income until at least 2017.
The 84-page document went into great detail about Zullo’s alleged transgressions, stating that:
“For years, Roger S. Zullo, an LPL advisor, has defrauded his clients, lied to his supervisors, and fabricated client financial suitability profiles, in order to enrich himself and LPL by selling scores of identical, unsuitable, illiquid, and high-commission variable annuities.”
The issue allegedly went beyond Zullo’s actions – the Massachusetts Securities Division stated that LPL Financial ignored or failed to notice a wide array of red flags left by Zullo’s misconduct – red flags that should have prompted LPL Financial to take immediate and decisive action. For example, the complaint stated that LPL Financial was fully aware of Zullo’s actions and history after receiving numerous complaints from his direct supervisor who reportedly informed other supervisors and LPL Financial managers of his concerns, all of which fell upon deaf ears.
“In addition, LPL was aware of Zullo's disciplinary history, which included multiple fines for relevant items such as violation of LPL' s document signature policy (i.e., maintaining a blank form signed by a client), variable annuity policy, and use of an unapproved email address. LPL stated that it hoped a $500 fine, for instance, would impress upon Zullo the importance of adherence to LPL Financial policy and all regulatory rules. It did not.”
Despite these fines and complaints from his supervisor, LPL Financial allegedly rewarded Zullo with accolades and would overlook the glaring red flags and warning signs. The complaint went on to state that:
“For its part, LPL rewarded Zullo's fraudulent practices and suspicious sales patterns with the accolade of a place in LPL's "Chairman's Club" for top annuity production, and actively disregarded and denied not only countless warning signs and red flags, but deliberate and specific supervisory attempts to escalate concerns with Zullo' s sales practices, as well as a written complaint made on behalf of a cognitively impaired senior citizen that affirmatively identified Zullo' s fraud.”
If you lost money investing with LPL Financial broker and investment adviser Roger Zullo, contact the investment fraud lawyers Meyer Wilson today to request a free case consultation, or give us a call at one of our four office locations to speak with a member of our firm. We handle all of our cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t owe us any legal fees until we successfully help you recover your losses.