The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Ameriprise FinancialScam


Sam L. Thornal II an agent for Ameriprise Financial in Addison Texas advertises himself as a "financial advisor" and someone who is helpful for recent divorcees. What Sam does is sell Insurance under the cover of "Financial Advice." He is NOT a financial advisor although he has all the documents stating he is.

Sam looked at my income and current financial situation and suggested I invest in a $500K VUL policy and put 20K of my life earnings into a Fund of Funds. The VUL policy is loaded with fees Sam NEVER disclosed and I foolishly signed up for it trusting his advice. I make $60, 000 before taxes and he had me putting $500.00 of my bring home into the VUL. Sam and Ameriprise were taking at least half of that money in fees and getting rich on it while I became poorer every day. The Fund of Funds account is supposed to be a fund whose content is a collection of mutual funds managed by some expert him and his collaborators at Ameriprise and Riversource have absolute confidence in. Turns out it was a regular FRONT LOADED Fund which he did not disclose at the time of my signing up for it.

ONE account, Sam Thornal put me in this account where I pay $120.00-year just to have what any bank gives away for free...checking, online banking, atm, drafts, etc. You have to set this account up or he will not do business with you.

VUL policy: about half of my monthly dues went to Sam Thornal. "VUL's are for people who make more than $250K-year" ( Warren Buffet ) Mutual

Funds: The setup paid Sam Thornal a fat commission and left me holding 2-3's or what I originally invested, since he received his commission up front.

Fees: Sam Thornal charges an escalating fee which he negotiates originally but then raises annually without any notice. He drafts the money directly from the ONE account he insisted on setting up.

Prymaid Scheme: Sam gives his customers discounts if they can bring in their friends. It is how I ended up in his office and let him earn my trust as he used my best friend to sell his services to me. By the time I figured out what had happened, 2 years went by and I lost my nest egg to Sam Thornal who turned from "nice guy" to a lawyer pulling paperwork out from years ago and telling me that I signed up for it and everything is "LEGAL"

The concepts of "TRUST", "ADVISOR", "AGENT THAT ACTS ON YOUR BEHALF" are all alien to Sam Thornal. He is a liar and is nothing more than an Insurance Salesman operating under the cover of Financial Advisor. He's a predator that takes advantage of the uneducated, recently divorced and others who are venerable.

PLEASE LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE, AVOID Sam Thornal II in Addison TX, he is a liar and a cheat and will take your money. I filed a complaint with Sam Thornal's manager who was more interested in taking the fees Sam charged me if he was going to deal with me. I filed a formal complaint with Ameriprise, let's see if they say or do anything.


  • Ph
    Phoenix2016 May 17, 2016

    Antonio T you were making 30% in your 401k and you decided to leave for the prospect of doing better?? You don't see anything wrong with this?? BTW I would love to see the investment options that were available to you in your 401k in which you had a diverse asset allocation based on your time horizon, asset allocation, risks and your specific needs for accumulation and distribution for your retirement, that were yielding you 30%, maybe you should have been the advisor...not

    3 Votes
  • Tr
    TROT213 Apr 01, 2016

    My advice is to stay away. When you first meet with them, they make you feel like there will be a team of people working on your account. During my initial meeting, there were 4-5 people from Ameriprise. Your “advisor” lays out a calendar of quarterly touch points — two in person, two over the phone. Aside from our initial meeting, I never saw my advisor in person. And last year, he called me once — at the end of December.

    But the main reason I left is because I was paying high fees to have no one watch my money. Between fees and bad advice, I would have been better off keeping my money in a no interest savings account.

    The kicker is when you leave, they charge high termination and transfer fees on your account. Someone was making money on my account, but it was not me.

    Unfortunately, after surfing around the internet, my experience with Ameriprise is not unique.

    -2 Votes
  • An
    Antonio T Jan 05, 2015
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have a very similar experience with Ameriprise Financial. Ameriprise Financial in Warren, NJ was recommended to me by my former colleague at work. The advisor I dealt with seemed honest and trustworthy and that convinced me to open an account at Ameriprise and transferred my 401K and pension funds which were at that time earning about 30% and 5% respectively at GSK. I opened the Ameriprise account in December 2013 (believing that this Ameriprise advisor can do better) and entrusted him the management of the account indicating to him that my goal was to grow the 401K for my kids. He created 3 subaccounts, annuity/insurance (funded by the pension fund plus about 1/3 of the 401K [why?], with pension deferred for 2 years [why?]) and 2 separate stock portfolios (funded by the balance of the 401K). Then my nightmares started. He was investing in mutual funds with the highest front loads and highest expense ratio; he was buying and selling mutual funds which are intended for long term investment; only 6 out of twelve mutual funds were hardly earning; he invested in depressed Europe stocks all of which were consistently giving negative results. By October 2014, after 10 months with Ameriprise, my account was diving downward loosing significantly in a bullish market that is over 10% high. I did not feel or see that my funds were being managed with my interest in his mind. By November 2014, I decided to close all accounts before the damage become unmanageable. It was a costly account closure with over $30, 000 penalty in one sub account alone plus fees and other charges. One more thing, he never highlighted to me the fees being charged on the account, over $500 each month plus the annual fee of $750. It was a very costly experience for me. The lesson here is to avoid Ameriprise financial advisor/broker and perhaps other brokers too as they work for fees and commissions in buying and selling stocks!! Personally manage your portfolio so you can sleep at night!!

    -1 Votes
  • Lo
    Love Ameriprise Dec 24, 2014

    I have been an Ameriprise client for about 15yrs and have never experience the problems you all complain about. My Advisor was referred to me by a relative. He has over 30yr experience and has helped me with everything from investing to estate planning. Since I've started investing with Ameriprise (even after the 2008 down market) my portfolio has grown over 400% and I have a moderate aggressive to aggressive risk tolerance. He diversifies my investments at least every 6-mo. I would not change a thing. Perhaps you nay-sayers should do more research and find an Advisor that matches your needs.
    Much luck and prosperity to all!

    1 Votes
  • No
    Nooomore Mar 08, 2011

    Email from a Renee Green amriprise financial advisor after I was not willing to pay for a driver to drive her across a bridge because she was afraid - totally unprofessional
     have decided based on your last several emails that you do not meet my standards or qualifications  for a client.  Please do not contact me again
    Renee L. Green | Business Financial Advisor | Financial Advisor | Ameriprise Financial
    1786 Generals Hwy  | Annapolis, MD, 21401
    Office: [protected] | Fax: [protected] | [email protected]

    0 Votes
  • Am
    Amer_fin_scam Jan 28, 2011

    I too am in the same boat. I and my husband put $1000 a month for 18 months in VUL with no savings in hand. We thought that we are investing for our daughter's future. We didnt have any option to suggest the portfolio and most of the money went into Ameriprise own Riversource funds. When the market crashed and we saw that we were not making any profit. When we wanted to stop it thinking we can get the remaining $11000 in the account, the agent said that we have to pay $3000 to close the account and just suspend our account. We lost $18000 like this and went and put our money in a better place after that. Lesson learnt the hard way. Dont trust Ameriprise Financials.

    0 Votes
  • Mo
    MOEKMAN Dec 31, 2010

    Just like most businesses and people--if the person you are dealing with is honest you will be OK and if not then you will fall victim to them.
    I am an Ameriprise client and my advisor disclosed all the fees of both up-front and "management fees" similar to most financial advisors.
    I referred my elderly parents to him and he clearly had their best interests as their portfolio grew (not much) during the downturn while mine was more volatile as I am 40 years old and had $600K invested. Happy to say he changed strategies slightly (and we discussed before he did it) and both my parents and I are both "up" in our initial principal.
    Investigate your advisor (mine is a friend--which can be difficult) and I also invested with a different broker to compare strategies and results and have since moved all my investments and insurance to the way, I work for a major Cable Telecom Company so my relationship is based on friendship and, more important, performance as I would have pulled my investments if my advisor was not performing as I expected.
    Good Luck and hope for the BULLS!

    0 Votes
  • Tu
    tuckerman May 04, 2010

    Several years ago, I paid Ameriprise a refundable $600 fee to set up my financial plan.
    Although I told the guy, firmly, on 3 different occasions, that I had no dependents and wanted NO insurance, he kept bringing up insurance.
    He explained that it would be tax free at retirement. I kept countering that I would be paying some portion of the premium for life protection that I neither needed nor wanted. He wouldn't take no for an answer.
    The final plan - transfer all my money to his front-end loaded funds, and all my spare money would go to whole life insurance.
    Bottom line - I got my $600 back, and would never trust them again.

    0 Votes
  • So
    southjerseygirl Mar 05, 2010

    Sorry for all you went through. Follow true north's advice. Good luck!

    Also, read Ken Fisher's book, How to Smell a Rat, The Five Signs of Financial Fraud. Ken gives 5 red flags which can be of help in the future. Always ask for what he/she will be earning from your business; in other words, how does he/she receive his/her pay. AND never get into any product with front end loads.

    -1 Votes
  • No
    NorthernLight Jan 27, 2010

    Greatfindings2010, you have no clue what you are talking about.
    First of all, Ameriprise pushes the sale of VUL's and RAVA, the home office makes a ton of money from those two products and they are perhaps the products that keep the lights on in Ameriprise.
    Second of all, Ameriprise chooses who they refund money to, if my lawyer calls and I decide to file a complaint most probably I will get all my money back especially in the state of New Hampshire, since the securities department does not want ameriprise to operate here.
    If I call compliance and explain nicely that I have a complaint and send it in writing, although FINRA rules say that this complaint has to be posted, Ameriprise does not. Most probably I will not see a penny of my investment. Why such a different outcome? Explain that. If you dont believe it look above, check that advisor in finra brokercheck and you'll see, there is no complaint logged in. why?

    The reason are clear, its not a reputable company.
    Good luck with your career in Ameriprise.

    -1 Votes
  • De
    Debra Carey Mar 29, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @NorthernLight We need the Fiduciary rule in place .Supposed to go into law this spring. I doubt it will as it states financial organizations are supposed to do what is right for the person who pays them .I will admit I signed all the papers my advisor want Heather M. in Va. She bought ne a 200000. annuity that I cannot take out till 2028. I am 63 and she knew I only wanted things kept in different things for 5 years or less. She never even when I asked told me what she got paid for it .I heard it was a windfall like $7000. up front and she gets to keep that acct. till 2028 getting paid a fee every month. I cannot move it though I have taken everything else from her. TIt is my opinion that she did what is best for her. When I would see that a $ 800, 000. acct. lost money most months till Trump got elected .Then I made some money. Most of the money made was from stocks I picked like aapl. bought at 93. still have at 142. It took all my time for almost a year to figure out what she was doing. When I did not pay 900. to renew Feb. 2017 .I still saw as I was trying to withdraw all she managed to put over $628. in someones pocket from Mar. 1-15. Had Financial engines before that. I did not know at the time they have less fee, very helpful and that I should leave it there. The lesson cost me a lot of money, but sometime you have to face the fact that most financial people are dishonest. It is an easy life I guess. . They let me buy and sell. I am a good stock picker. Thank You God. I look forward to not having to worry about this anymore. They have the Fiduciary rule in place and make money when you make money. So the more you make the more they get. Keeps them on there toes and you make progress. It is only I think 1.3%. The amerprise women said she thought I wanted to buy a home and move that is why that 200, 000. sat there 9 months and made maybe made 7.00 a month.I lost my husband in 2015. Never did a long tax return or took care of any paperwork. It was not what I did. I believe she knew she could run wild and I one day I may find out. I don't know what is worse knowing or not knowing. I think now how strange life is. My husband and I took every opportunity and worked like crazy to save and buy stuff, fix it up make a profit. Go to yard sales buy fix and resale. Bought 8 homes in our lifetime g fixing them up and resale getting at least 10% profit a year for each year we had it. I worked as a cleaning person and he a sheet metal worker . I have an 841 credit rating and have never not paid a bill in full by end of month since 20 years old. We lived well as non college graduates. The mortgage rates then 8-9% most of the time. So anyone who is willing to work hard, extra jobs all the time should be able to do the same in this economy as the homes maybe more expensive but interest rate has been 0-2% for 10 years.Anyway. When your family or friends who never worked like you worked all expect to get money from me. Someone always wants something. It is awful. They think since you have it they are entitled to it. Only have 2 children with master degrees from William and Mary, Mary Washington and Evms in Norfolk Va. They make good money and I never have to worry about them. They do not want me to give my money away. So a little lesson in life .think very carefully about investing with any co. If you are good at mathmatics and learn the ins and outs of the different products available you will do fine. Stay away from A.

    0 Votes
  • Gr
    greatfindings2010 Jan 27, 2010

    A couple things come to mind;

    1)Did any of this scam or "misleading" happen to because the economy was in a very bad situation and the stock market tumbled?

    2)"The setup paid Sam Thornal a fat commission and left me holding 2-3's or what I originally invested, since he received his commission up front."

    When you invest in front end load mutual funds, the maximum that riversource charges is 5.75% below $50, 000 and then it goes down from there. Which is much smaller than 2/3 or 33% that you claim he took.

    3) you said that you were putting in $500 a month to your VUL and Sam and Ameriprise were taking half of it. Some of that money was going towards your cost of insurance, whatever is left over goes to your cash portion that is invested in the market.

    All of these outrageous costs that you are reffering to are very common in the industry, and i dont know how the products were explained to you which I am sure is where the confusion comes from. However, you had to sign on all the dotted lines and get a physical done to get your VUL. So to act like someone pulled the wool over your eyes seems to very impractical!!

    -1 Votes
  • Ju
    julieann H. Jan 05, 2010

    Well I agree that it is a horrible experience, but my Ameriprise financial advisor left the country for a year (or more) and left an unlicensed person to do his advising while he collected the salary. Needless to say, my portfolio was trashed. Ameriprise didn't do anything to him.

    3 Votes
  • Er
    Erika Tatiana Linares Dec 16, 2009

    I fell victim of a scam from what it appertley a "ghost" company saying they are "Ameriprise Financial" . I received a letter late November with a check for $3, 540.00. The invitational letter mentions it's for "part time Job for Undercover servey" and it gives instructions on what to do and the telephone number of your contact person. The "duties" is, one, to wire money through a Western Union and rate thier costomer service and the other is to rate some department store, pharmacy or gas station. I called the number and the main greeting dose in indeed say it's "Ameriprise Financial" and my contact also answered her extention. In talking to her she sounds very profecional and knowlageable in her field . She answered all my questions and conserns. The ironic thing is that I asked if this was some kind of scam. After giving it a few days of thought I decided to proceed with the letter. I thought to my self with these couple of hundreds of dollars I can have Chritmas this year (since the past year we did nothave one) and being on disability for the next 8 weeks I decided to give it a try. On December 4th I deposited the check and did not withdrawl the money untill December 9th. On this day is when I did all of "my under cover duties". After I did the wire of money I called again to same number but this time a male answered my contacts extention and said told he was the boss and that "Sandra (my contact)" was out of the office. Before I did the withdrawl of money I left a few messages for "Sandra Taylor" that same day. For the following days I checked my bank account and everthing was fine and I also used my ATM to make some percheses. On December 15th I was trying to use my ATM at the DMV and was declied for insufficent funds. Right away I cheched my bank account and saw the check that I had deposited form this company had bounced. I plan on cantacting my bank and local police with this matter. As soon as became aware of this situation I left several messages to this company and wrote then an email ([email protected]). Today, December 16th not being able to sleep due to this situation I'm scrambeling through the Internet and finally found somthing due to this "scam". In the web page for the real Ameripise Financial there is a section on icon on "scam" and seeing the same letters I received I did confirm that indeed this all a GREAT scam.

    0 Votes
  • Tr
    true north Jun 24, 2009

    Please contact Kristi Gardner at the Texas State Securities Board for more information on how to file a proper complaint with the State of Texas. She should be interested to hear your story.

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    protectyourselfagainstamp Jun 15, 2009

    I feel bad for your experience, but what is even worse is what I am about to tell you, you said you filed a complaint, however its not posted. Ameriprise has the obligation to post the complaint in the FINRA brokercheck website, there is no complaint posted, you can check for yourself
    Sorry to tell you the truth.

    0 Votes

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