Colorado Springs financial adviser charged with misappropriating client funds

DENVER (Sept. 26, 2017) — Sonya D. Camarco, 45, of Colorado Springs, Colorado was indicted on September 21 by a Colorado Grand Jury on six counts of securities fraud and seven counts of theft. Camarco, who was a licensed investment adviser representative and sales representative with LPL Financial, is accused of diverting over $850,000 in client funds for personal use between January 2013 and May 2017.

The indictment was the result of the investigative efforts of the Colorado Division of Securities, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The case is being prosecuted by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

The indictment alleges that Carmarco became an investment adviser representative and registered representative for LPL Financial beginning in February 2004. According to its website, LPL Financial claims to be the “largest independent broker/dealer in the country, supporting more than 14,000 financial advisors.” Following an internal investigation conducted by LPL Financial in July of 2017 regarding a suspicious check drawn on a client account, it was discovered that numerous checks had been drawn on several accounts belonging to Camarco’s clients payable to an account controlled by Camarco. Further inquiry by LPL Financial uncovered that Carmaco was endorsing checks from clients’ accounts made payable to an account she controlled. She deposited them into accounts for which she was the signatory. Clients did not authorize investment of their funds into Camarco’s accounts. LPL Financial terminated Carmarco’s employment.

The indictment additionally alleges that funds deposited into the Camarco Investments account were used by Camarco for various personal expenditures such as credit card payments, real estate, taxes and automobile expenses. Camarco did not return funds to investors. Nor did she disclose to investors, one of whom was an elderly woman with dementia, that she was placing their money in the Camarco Investments account for her own use.

“Cases involving securities professionals that we license and who are accused of theft of client funds are a top enforcement priority for us,” commented Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome. “It is imperative for us to act as swiftly as possible when a licensed investment adviser representative and broker dealer sales representative is engaging in this kind of misconduct in our backyard.”

“Coloradans should be able to trust licensed professionals with their hard earned money,” said Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman. “We appreciate our partners at DORA and we will continue to work diligently to ensure that Colorado consumers are protected.”

“Consumer protection is our mission, and this case demonstrates that we take that role very seriously,” said DORA Executive Director Marguerite Salazar. “I appreciate the commitment of the Division of Securities and the Attorney Generals Office to protect Coloradans from any further harm.”

It is important to note that the filing of criminal charges is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime. Every defendant should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.