A Massachusetts financial advisor was charged with defrauding two advisory clients who were retail investors by persuading them to invest over $300,000 in a scam originating in Turkey, according to a complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC complaint said Richard Duncan, 71, of East Longmeadow, Mass., violated his fiduciary duty as an investment advisor by ignoring and failing to disclose warnings to his clients from two banks that the Turkish investment opportunity was probably a scam.

Duncan also made false and misleading statements to at least one client, promising as much as a 100% return on the investment, the complaint alleged.

According to the complaint, Duncan solicited the investments from late 2016 until the fall of 2018. The so-called opportunity, the complaint said, consisted of sending funds to Turkey based on an elaborate hoax.

The complaint said Duncan told his clients and various third parties that a woman, whom he sometimes referred to as his girlfriend or fiancée, living in Turkey expected to inherit as much as $6 million from her deceased father, and that he would be able to manage the inheritance if he provided the woman with money for legal expenses.

Duncan, the complaint said, steered at least two elderly retail investors to “invest” in this illusory jackpot, promising them a return of as much as 100% if they helped to secure the release of the funds. One of his longtime clients provided about $250,000; another client put in $28,100, the complaint said..

The money was sent to several people in Turkey and the U.S. who were supposedly helping the woman in Turkey. But Duncan failed to obtain any documentation establishing the identity of the woman in Turkey and confirming the existence of legal proceedings involving the estate of the woman’s father, the complaint said. The clients have not received any of the promised returns on their investment, the complaint said.

The complaint said Duncan has been an investment advisory representativ, associated with various investment advisory firms since at least 1989.

Prior to April 2017, he was associated with an investment advisory firm in East Longmeadow. Between April 2017 and April 2019, he was associated with an investment advisory firm based in Iowa. On April 4, he was terminated from the Iowa firm after they found out that he had solicited investments from clients for the purported Turkish investment scheme, the complaint said.

The SEC complaint alleges that Duncan seeks permanent injunctions, civil penalties, and disgorgement plus prejudgment interest against Duncan.

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