A barred former LPL Financial advisor accused of defrauding a widow in her 90s is facing nearly two dozen felony counts in a criminal case following his termination and the SEC's civil charges.
Bradley A. Goodbred was arrested west of Chicago on Nov. 30 on charges of financial exploitation of an elderly person and theft after detectives and prosecutors' investigation showed that he used a "client's money for his personal gain" rather than investing it, according to the police in Yorkville, Illinois. The criminal case comes two months after the SEC filed a civil action accusing Goodbred of bilking a 97-year-old woman later diagnosed with dementia for $1.3 million. Prosecutors filed 23 counts of Class 1 and 2 felonies against Goodbred, 54.
Losses from elder fraud, including cases of "romance scams, investment fraud, government impersonation, and tech support fraud," have grown in each of the past four years, according to the FBI's latest annual tally. Victim losses among Americans aged 60 or older soared by 74% year over year in 2021 to $1.69 billion. The cases are so common that regulators and firms in the industry meet regularly to discuss how to prevent elder abuse and giant firms including LPL and its rivals frequently pay restitution to victims. The week before the SEC's case against Goodbred, Raymond James settled a different case involving a 98-year-old victim .
Trying to put a stop to the elder fraud "gets really, really tricky" for firms and regulators seeking to distinguish between "a suspicious withdrawal" and a client's intended outlay of money, according to Hugh Berkson, a securities lawyer with McCarthy Lebit Crystal Liffman who is the president of the Public Investors Advocate Bar Association.
"Elder abuse is not new," Berkson said. "You don't often see prosecutors picking these cases up. I think it's great when they do, because one would hope that would scare off other bad actors. I don't know that it will, but it certainly doesn't hurt."
A lawyer who represented Goodbred in FINRA's earlier enforcement case barring him from the industry in February didn't respond to requests for comment. LPL didn't respond to emails seeking comment on the allegations against its former broker.
The firm paid the victim's successor trustee a settlement of $1.2 million in August to compensate the estate for the remaining losses after Goodbred returned a portion of them, according to the SEC's complaint and his detailed FINRA BrokerCheck file. LPL terminated Goodbred in January 2021, alleging that he "utilized [an] unapproved power of attorney to facilitate distribution of customer funds to a real estate company representative owned and operated," according to BrokerCheck. His record displays no blemishes prior to the case.
LPL's regulatory expenses jumped 31% from the year-ago period to $7.8 million in the third quarter. In other updates last week on cases involving former LPL financial advisors, one received a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to child pornography charges and another was barred by the SEC after admitting to fraud, identity theft and witness tampering in a million-dollar scheme .
Goodbred gained the victim's trust and her power of attorney over the course of a long-term relationship that predated the 2006 death of her husband, according to investigators. Between 2012 and 2020, he convinced her to invest more than $1 million into real estate investment trusts but used the money for his own personal and business expenses, the SEC said in its September filing. The Yorkville Police Department and the Kendall County State's Attorney's Office opened an investigation last year. Goodbred was released on a bond of $25,000 three days after police officers arrested him, according to inmate records.
The need to detect and stop elder fraud gets more pressing every year "as America's population grows older," Berkson said. "The effect of losing our retirement savings becomes epically devastating, and so it's an important issue for firms and society at large to study and address."