Former Cetera Advisors Broker Clark Gardner Charged with Securities Fraud: Investor Options
According to recent reports with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Clark Gardner, a former Cetera Advisors broker, was terminated from the firm due to undisclosed outside business activities and the sale of unapproved products. In 2015, Gardner was arrested for converting approximately $1.3 million in client funds by selling promissory notes to clients and depositing the funds into his personal bank account. He allegedly did this from November 2011 until April 2014. He used the ill-gotten gains for luxury vacations, repaying debts and other items unrelated to the investments.
The Division of Securities for Utah’s Deparment of Commerce investigated him after a complaint came from an investor. The department discovered a $150,000 property purchase Gardner completed with an unregistered real estate company. For this, he earned $20,000 in commissions. He reportedly told the investor that he would earn a steady income from the property and a significant return in five years. Gardner was also involved in a lawsuit in Pennsylvania for advising clients to “purchase life insurance policies while misrepresenting the nature and benefits of the policies.” This is sometimes referred to as “selling away,” and is when a broker recommends or sells a security that is not held or offered by his member firm. This is a tactic used by brokers to generate large commissions for themselves, while wracking up unnecessary fees for the clients. It is against securities rules and regulations.
According to FINRA records, Clark Smith Garnder was previously registered with Walnut Street Securities in El Segundo, California from August 1997 until February 2002, Sammons Securities in Orem, Utah from February 2002 until December 2013 and Cetera Advisors in Orem from December 2013 until May 2014. He has two customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He has been permanently barred from the industry. If you suffered losses with Clark Gardner, and would like to speak to an attorney about your options of suing Cetera on a contingency fee basis, please call toll-free at 312–332–4200. Attorneys are standing by. We sue firms in the FINRA arbitration forum.