UTMA/UGMA — Actions of this Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Saint Charles, IL, unethical, unprofessional, illegal, and a conflict of interest?
In August 2007, 6 months after joining Edward Jones, Jonathan Gripe took over the role as Financial Adviser for Pamela Gripe from a senior Financial Advisor. Taking the role of advising his “to be” fiancée on how to invest/use her minor children’s UTMA Custodian Accounts, was undoubtedly, unethical, unprofessional, and a conflict of interest. On September 19, 2007, even though he knew the laws governing UTMA/UGMA accounts (760 ILCS 20/15) and the orders contained within Pamela Gripe’s “Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage”, Jonathan Gripe conspired with his fiancée to extort $30, 000 from the minor’s custodial accounts for their own personal use. Jonathan and Pamela Gripe improperly used these extorted funds for the benefit of Jonathan Gripe (medical, food, internet, and home/cell phone expenses used to support him and his home office) and to pay their parental obligations. If not uncovered during the deposition of Pamela Gripe on March 3, 2008, Jonathan and Pamela Gripe would have undoubtedly continued to use the minor’s Custodial Accounts as their own personal “Piggy” bank. In order to protect the remaining funds in the minor’s Custodial Accounts, action was taken by the 16th Judicial Court of Kane County, Illinois to freeze the accounts and remove Jonathan and Pamela Gripe as Advisor and Custodian of the minor’s accounts. Although Jonathan and Pamela Gripe made attempts to dismiss these actions in court, in December 2008, the court upheld these orders. The minor's UTMA/UGMA accounts were transferred from Edward Jones and Jonathan Gripe was removed as the Financial Advisor.
On 1/27/2009, A complaint against Jonathan Gripe, containing court documents and supporting evidence, was filed with the Office of Resolution at Edward Jones. On 2/17/2009, Mrs. Cohen, a Resolution Counsel, announced that Edward Jones had considered the matter closed. The counsel asked Jonathan Gripe a few questions over the phone, disregarded the supporting evidence, and closed the matter quickly. In my opinion, Edward Jones' failure to act against their Financial Advisor shows an indifference to the rights of the individual investor. In this case, they neglected the rights of the two minor children in supporting Jonathan Gripe's unethical, unprofessional, and illegal behavior. I am concerned about what type of behavior this indifference will enable in Edward Jones' ranks? Who will be its next victim?
In my opinion, Jonathan Gripe is guilty of unethical, unprofessional, and illegal behavior. I question his morality.
Other than his "own", whose interest does Jonathan Gripe really have in mind? Would you want Jonathan Gripe investing or advising you about your money?