A former financial adviser faces charges of embezzling more than $300,000 from one of his consulting clients.
On Wednesday, authorities arrested Adam Belardinomanaging director of a New York-based financial advisory firm Maddox Groupand unsealed an indictment charging him with fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Belardino allegedly stole more than $313,000 from a client he allegedly convinced to liquidate part of her portfolio at a former brokerage firm where Belardino managed her money and transfer the funds to Maddox in August 2019, a month after Belardino founded the company, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.
Instead of investing the money as promised, Belardino reportedly spent it on Maddox’s operating expenses, as well as to cover past debt and pay credit card charges, mostly for personal effects, as well as personal travel, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Additionally, when the alleged victim told Belardino to transfer Maddox’s funds to his brokerage account at another company in September 2021, Belardino allegedly sent documents showing a pending wire transfer and checks from an account. Maddox, but the money was never deposited into the alleged victim’s account. account because the Maddox account did not have sufficient funds, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The only wire fraud charge Belardino faces carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Belardino, began his career in the financial services industry in 2007, registering with Metropolitan life insurance in Iselin, New Jersey, according to BrokerCheck. Later the same year he left for MSI Financial Services in Elmsford, New York, where he remained until 2017, when he joined MML Investor Servicesalso in Elmsford, according to his file.
MML fired Belardino in March 2019 “as part of an investigation into a customer complaint,” according to BrokerCheck.
Belardino has a client complaint from that month alleging he misrepresented the values of his clients’ accounts, engaged in excessive trading and failed to liquidate accounts as requested, according to his filing. The lawsuit was settled for approximately $1.54 million, according to BrokerCheck.
Belardino has racked up several other disputes with clients since then, alleging misrepresentation, unauthorized transactions, use of false signatures and more, according to his filing. In December 2020, the Financial Sector Regulatory Authority barred him from the industry after he failed to appear to testify as part of the industry self-regulator’s investigation into his release from MML, according to BrokerCheck.
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