The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority charged Austin Morton, a former Edward Jones broker located in eastern Oklahoma, with the theft of $36,000 from an 83-year-old man with dementia. It is alleged that this theft was motivated by outstanding gambling debts of Morton.
Morton is alleged to have taken more than $22,000 that the elderly investor left in Morton’s car after the investor liquidated his retirement account. The FINRA complaint asserts that in September 2016 the investor was in the car of Morton after having lunch with Morton.
A month later the Edward Jones broker filled out a signed blank check from the customer for another $22,000. Morton defended the action saying that the transfer of funds to him was a loan and that the investor was a personal friend. Part of the funds were asserted by the broker to be for medical expenses which are alleged to have never occurred.
The FINRA complaint states, “[I]n 2016 Morton incurred close to $130,000 in losses from Online [gambling site], the primary online horse racing wagering facility with which he placed bets at the time.” The complaint goes on to say, “[I]n September 2016 alone, the month in which he committed his first act of conversion, Morton made 38 separate deposits into his Online [gambling] account, totaling more than $17,300.”
Finra charged Morton with both conversion of funds and an unrelated charge of engaging in undisclosed outside business activity. These are substantial charges that could result in a bar from the securities industry.
On his FINRA BrokerCheck record, a form of his CRD record, Morton denied his employer’s termination charges stating, “gentleman [the alleged victim] [is] a long time family friend,” and that the investor “was no longer a client,” the broker wrote.
A copy of the complaint can be found at the following link.