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Toledo investment advisor facing federal fraud charge over $400,000

Toledo WTVG logo Toledo WTVG 9/24/2021 Shaun Hegarty
Toledo investment advisor facing federal fraud charge over $400,000 © Provided by Toledo WTVG Toledo investment advisor facing federal fraud charge over $400,000

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A local financial investor is now facing federal charges after he was accused of fraud totaling $400,000.

It’s the kind of paperwork where you never want to see your financial advisor’s name: Federal fraud charges. The feds have charged James Simpson with investment adviser fraud. He’s being charged via information in which a defendant agrees to waive their right to prosecution via indictment.

Simpson’s accused of being “willfully engaged in a transaction, practice, or course of business which operated or would operate as a fraud or deceit on any client or prospective client in connection with investment advisory services totaling over $400,000.”

Simpson had an office on Central Avenue by Executive Parkway in Toledo. His lawyer didn’t want to comment but did say Simpson is now retired.

As the court system sorts out this case, there are steps every investor can take to try and avoid something like this.

“No one should be holding your assets captive and no one should be locking up your investments,” said Andrea Seidt, the Securities Commissioner for the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Seidt is not connected to Simpson’s case but says every investor should do their homework on who they are investing with.

“Talking to a parent or someone in your family that has investing experience is good place to start. But we don’t want you to stop there,” said Seidt.

You call the department of commerce to see if that advisor is registered. Their phone number is 1800-788-1194. Seidt says stay away from anyone who isn’t registered.

“Trust your instinct. If you feel like something is wrong, don’t wait,” said Seidt.

A great online resource is the broker check through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA. A check of Simpson’s shows the proper licenses but also illuminates issues.

Simpson was permitted to resign in August: “while under investigation due to a customer complaint alleging misappropriation of client funds and questioning the suitability of an indexed annuity sold outside the firm.”

The Department of Commerce offers the following checklist to spot advisor issues:

  • Overly aggressive or pushy sales tactics
  • Someone offering unrealistic investment returns
  • No communication from the advisor

No matter who your investor is, remember it’s your money. You have the final say, not an advisor.

“You can fire them at any time. It is your money and we want you to take control and responsibility of your assets,” said Seidt.

Simpson will be in federal court on October 20th.

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