Raymond James Financial Services is pursuing more than $800,000 from a former financial advisor the firm claims swindled a 96-year-old client suffering from dementia.
In an emergency legal action last week, RJFS asked a federal court to freeze the assets of Jo Ellen Fisher of Gallipolis, Ohio, and give the firm a claim on her assets.

RJFS, the independent broker-dealer arm of Raymond James Financial, alleges that Fisher diverted a total of nearly $1.5 million from the accounts of Edward Martin, an elderly client who lives in a West Virginia nursing home. After some of the lost assets were replaced, the firm says its out-of-pocket loss for making Martin whole is $835,000.

The diversions began in July 2013 and continued through early 2014, RJFS says in its court action.

The firm alleges Fisher and her husband, Andrew Fisher, spent the money as fast as it came in, buying two automobiles worth $87,000, diamonds worth $165,000, $146,000 for appliances and home remodeling, and used additional funds to pay off debts.

“Currently, Jo Ellen Fisher’s conduct (and the conduct of others) is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney Office for the Southern District of Ohio,” Raymond James said in a court filing.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is also investigating, the firm said.

RJFS claims the Fishers concocted a scheme to make it look like their own daughter was Martin’s goddaughter, and that the asset transfers were gifts to the daughter.

The alleged fraudulent gifts were transferred into accounts the Fishers controlled at Peoples Bank, where Jo Ellen Fisher was employed as a financial advisor.

RJFS provides securities and investment advisory services to customers of the bank, and the bank’s advisors are registered with RJFS.

The brokerage firm said it first learned of the alleged fraud in May 2014 from Martin’s niece, who acts as his trustee.

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