Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today suspended the broker-dealer agent registration of a Moberly, Missouri broker, Craig McClaskey, under R.S.Mo. § 409.4-412(f) for alleged securities laws violations stemming from Mr. McClaskey’s mishandling of an 85 year-old woman’s life savings. According to the Suspension Order, the elderly woman was a neighbor and almost like family to Mr. McClaskey, who was also the beneficiary on some of the woman’s assets.
Mr. McClaskey allegedly initiated a change of beneficiary on two of the woman’s variable annuity policies, listing himself as the beneficiary on one of the policies and his wife as the beneficiary of the other policy. Mr. McClaskey and his wife were also named as beneficiaries on the woman’s mutual fund and an IRA.
In addition, Mr. McClaskey allegedly persuaded the elderly woman to liquidate approximately $52,000.00 from her savings accounts to purchase a Florida investment property that was in a depressed area, was in foreclosure and was vacant. According to the Suspension Order, the Florida property was purchased in both Mr. McClaskey’s and the woman’s name, and was to be used as Mr. McClaskey’s retirement home upon the women’s death. Mr. McClaskey also allegedly transferred the woman’s home into his name for one dollar only three months after the death of her only son.
The actions of Mr. McClaskey are a textbook example of what Secretary of State Carnahan aims to prevent under Missouri’s recently-enacted Senior Protection Act. According to Ms. Carnahan, this case only confirms Missouri's commitment to “stand up for Missouri seniors and crack down on anyone who attempts to prey on their life savings.”
Mr. McClaskey will be one of the first individuals to face the Missouri Senior Protection Act, which went into effect in August and imposes steep penalties on fraudsters who take advantage of elderly investors. The Act establishes a minimum penalty of $50,000.00 for anyone who commits criminal securities fraud against such individuals—with the maximum penalty being $1,000,000.00 and up to ten years in prison—along with an additional penalty of up to $5,000.00.
Mr. McClaskey’s actions are still being investigated, and Secretary of State Carnahan has already indicated that she will take all further action as necessary, including a possible permanent bar from the securities industry.
A complete copy of the news release from the Missouri Securities Division can be found here.