Published On: June 15, 2015

Elderly investors can sue brokerage firms like UBS and Morgan Stanley for claims related to the financial abuse of the elderly. A recent case illustrates how firms like UBS and Morgan Stanley can be held liable through the FINRA arbitration process. Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating John Anthony Waszolek, a former broker with UBS Wealth Management, for allegedly attempting to make himself a beneficiary in the will of an 81-year old wealthy client with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, who was also legally blind. Waszolek attempted to inherit more than $1.8 million from the client’s estate. Waszolek allegedly did succeed in becoming a successor trustee of the client’s trust, and he did become healthcare power of attorney over said client. Waszolek did not disclose to his current firm at the time, UBS Wealth Management, that he he became a successor trustee, or that he was healthcare power of attorney. His other former firm, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, provided him with a questionnaire, on which he was supposed to disclose those facts, but did not. The questionnaire also specifically asked whether he had been named a beneficiary of any other non-family member account or whether he functioned as a fiduciary for any firm customer, and he answered no to both questions, which was a false statement.

The client was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, and one month after her diagnosis, Waszolek met with an estate planning attorney to have himself named as her agent and power of attorney, as well as to have her trust be amended to name him as a residual beneficiary. The attorney declined because of his knowledge of the client’s dementia diagnosis and her alleged diminished capacity to have the foresight to allow Waszolek to be a beneficiary of her estate. Upon securing his beneficiary status after contacting another attorney, Waszolek immediately resigned from UBS and went to work for Morgan Stanley.

Mr. Waszolek was registered with Merill Lynch, Security First Financial, Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis Inc., UBS and Morgan Stanley and has been a registered representative within the industry since October 1974. He is currently registered with Raymond James & Associates in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has been since February 2012. He has two customer disputes against him, neither of which is pending.

If you invested money with John Waszolek, you may be able to recover your investment losses by suing his former firms, UBS and/or Morgan Stanley. Both firms had written procedures in place that required registered representatives to disclose whether that rep had been appointed as a beneficiary of a customer’s trust, and, because both firms failed to enforce this rule, can be held liable for financial losses. Both firms’ written procedures also prohibited registered reps from acting in a fiduciary capacity with respect to any firm customer without prior approval. Waszolek did not disclose this action to either firm, and neither UBS nor Morgan Stanley preapproved it, so both can be liable for his actions in this capacity as well. Please call our Chicago-based law offices at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney. We will go over your options of suing UBS or Morgan Stanley to possibly recover financial losses with John Waszolek.

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