The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor James Couture (Couture) has converted customer funds among other allegations. According to BrokerCheck records, Schmidt is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) out of the firm’s Worcester, Massachusetts office location. In addition, Couture disclosed two customer complaints, one employment terminations for cause, and two regulatory actions. If you have been a victim of Couture’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.
In June 2020 LPL Financial terminated Couture alleging that he had altered identifying information, account balances and distributions in customer account statement, maintained comingled customer funds, use of an unapproved email address. Thereafter, FINRA investigated these claims but Couture refused to comply with the agency’s requests.
In June 2021 the SEC alleged that Couture violated his fiduciary duty to his clients by engaging in a deceptive scheme to misappropriate approximately $2.9 million from them. According to the SEC, Couture fraudulently prompted his clients to sell portions of their securities holdings in order to fund large money transfers to an entity that he owned and controlled. The SEC alleges that once Couture used the fraudulently obtained authorizations to secure the sale of client securities and transfers of the proceeds to his exclusive control, Couture then spnt the money for his own benefit. Couture went so far as to lull clients into believing that their sale proceeds had been actually reinvested by providing them with fabricated account systems and account holding reviews. The SEC found that the fabricated statements contained securities transactions that never happened, investments that did not exist, and earnings that the clients never received for the purposes of creating the false appearance that Couture had reinvested his clients’ money.