The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a broker based in Roanoke, Va., with defrauding elderly customers, including some who are legally blind, by stealing their funds for her personal use and falsifying their account statements to cover up her fraud.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Donna Jessee Tucker siphoned $730,289 from elderly customers and used the money to pay for such personal expenses as vacations, vehicles, clothes, and a country club membership. Tucker ensured that the customers received their monthly account statements electronically, knowing that they were unable or unwilling to access their statements in that format. The SEC further alleges that Tucker engaged in unauthorized trading and other financial transactions while making misrepresentations to customers about their investment accounts and forging brokerage, banking, and other documents.
The SEC’s investigation resulted from a broker-dealer examination of the firm where Tucker worked that was conducted by the SEC’s Philadelphia Regional Office.
“Tucker befriended her customers and gained their trust, only to be stealing their money behind their backs and giving them phony documents to hide it,” said Sharon Binger, director of the SEC’s Philadelphia office.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia announced criminal charges against Tucker.
Tucker has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges and disgorge the $730,289 in ill-gotten gains either in the criminal case or the civil case. She consented to the entry of an order permanently enjoining her from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 as well as Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The settlement is subject to court approval.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Brendan P. McGlynn, Lisa M. Candera, and Daniel L. Koster of the Philadelphia Regional Office, with assistance from Christopher R. Kelly. The examination that led to the investigation was conducted by James A. O’Leary, Calvin N. Inge, and William McIntyre under the supervision of Diane J. Hagy.
The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and Internal Revenue Service.