Robert Bales As Stock Broker, Defrauded Elderly Couple

Mar 20, 2012
J. Webster
Comments Off on Robert Bales As Stock Broker, Defrauded Elderly Couple

I guess it should come as no surprise that Wall Street comes into play with the man accused of massacring Afghan civilians. Especially when you take into count the study about psychopaths on Wall Street, the Morgan Stanley man accused of stabbing his cab driver, insider trading cases on the rise, and the broker who may or may have not been helping a madam setup an online prostitute website. It seems that the old tale that money and greed corrupt is still true. Greed ain’t good.

Sadly, an elderly couple in Ohio says Robert Bales defrauded them of $852,000 in AT&T stock. Of course AT&T is one of the most stable and secure stocks you can own, and has a hefty dividend to boot. And ten years ago, when this fraud supposedly took place, it was trading in the $40 range. Sure, the stock dropped some during the financial crisis, but still had a strong dividend that I’m guessing this couple were planning uses as a retirement check.

Robert Bales, the staff sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians, enlisted in the U.S. Army at the same time he was trying to avoid answering allegations he defrauded an elderly Ohio couple of their life savings in a stock fraud, according to federal documents reviewed by ABC News.

“He robbed me of my life savings,” Gary Liebschner of Carroll, Ohio told ABC News.

Financial regulators found that Bales “engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments,” according to a report on Bales filed in 2003. Bales and his associates were ordered to pay Liebschner $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages but have yet to do so, according to Liebschner.

“We didn’t know where he was,” Liebschner told ABC News. “We heard the Bahamas, and all kinds of places.”

Liebschner says he recognized Bales after news reports named him as the American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a shooting rampage.

Liebschner filed a complaint against Bales in May 2000, claiming Bales took his life savings of $852,000 in AT&T stock and through a series of trades reduced its value to nothing.

The Ohio retiree recalled Bales as a “smooth talker.” Asked if he regarded Bales as a con man, Liebschner said, “You’ve hit the nail on the head.”

At the time, Bales worked for an Ohio brokerage firm, MPI.

According to federal documents, Bales failed to appear at an arbitration hearing to resolve Liebschner’s complaint. (ABC)

And while this story is terribly sad any way you look at it, Bales never learned his lesson related to investing, he bought two different homes prior to the housing collapse with floating mortgage rates and foreclosed on one and was in the midst of doing a short sale on the other. Again, he over stepped his bounds and took on too much risk.

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