U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22784 / August 20, 2013
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Blake Richards, Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-1729 (N.D. Ga.)
Federal Court Permanently Enjoins Atlanta-Area Registered Representative Blake Richards from Securities Fraud Violations
On August 20, 2013, the Honorable Julie E. Carnes of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, entered an order of permanent injunction against Blake Richards of Buford, Georgia enjoining the defendant from further violations of the securities laws in connection with allegations that the registered representative misappropriated investor funds. Specifically, Richards is permanently enjoined from further violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206 (1) and Section 206 (2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”). The Order further provides that the issues of disgorgement and civil penalties will be resolved on motion of the Commission at a later date, and that in response to that motion, Richards is precluded from arguing that he did not violate the federal securities laws. Further, for purposes of that motion, the Order also provides that the allegations of the Complaint shall be accepted as and deemed true by the Court. Richards consented to the entry of the order of permanent injunction, without admitting or denying the allegations of the Commission’s complaint.
The Commission’s complaint alleged that, since at least 2008, Richards, a registered representative of a broker dealer, misappropriated approximately $2 million from at least seven investors. The majority of the misappropriated funds constituted retirement savings and/or life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses. The Commission further alleged that Richards instructed investors to write out checks to entities under his control with the understanding that Richards would invest their funds in fixed income assets, variable annuities and/or common stock, and that none of these investments were made as represented. None of the investments appeared on the client’s brokerage account statements, and Richards received no commission income from these investments. The complaint further alleged that Richards siphoned off the funds entrusted to him for personal use.