MORRISON TAKES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST CONCORD EQUITY ALLEGING SECURITIES FRAUD
Cease And Desist, Disciplinary Action Ordered Against New Jersey Securities Firm
Montana State Auditor John Morrison filed a Cease and Desist order and a disciplinary action against Concord Equity Group, LLC and Concord Equity Group Advisors (Concord Equity) alleging these companies committed securities fraud by omitting material facts their customers needed to make informed decisions regarding mutual fund purchases. Additional allegations include fraud for placing their customers into fee based accounts that were unsuitable and failure to reasonably supervise their employee, Leo Lapito.
"Itís simply intolerable when a firm allows its agents to charge excessive fees or omit key information." Morrison said. "We take our job of protecting Montana investors very seriously. Any firm or person charged with engaging in fraud will be held to the highest standards of the law."
As early as September 2003, Concord Equity customers were sold mutual funds in Class B and C shares, which the Auditorís office alleges resulted in denying the customers opportunity for breakpoint advantages as well as subjecting them to higher expenses associated with those classes. The allegations also accuse the companies of placing customers in over-diversified mutual fund portfolios with the same result. The companies also charged customers excessive fees by charging both a commission and an advisory account fee according to the Auditorís allegations.
ďBrokerage firms operating in Montana need to make sure they put their clients first -- not their bottom line,Ē said Morrison.
Former Concord Equity employee, Leo Lapito was the salesperson for the customers who are the focus of the Auditorís complaint. Lapito has moved to a new brokerage firm and has fully cooperated with the Auditor in uncovering the evidence that led to the filing of the disciplinary action.
Because many important cases have begun with a tip from the public, Morrison encourages Montana residents who may have information about insurance or securities fraud to contact the Investigations Division of the Montana State Auditorís Office at 1-800-332-6148.