Lawsuit filed in Aiken County against Ameriprise Financial Agent, John Engler

17 June, 2023
broker writing in notebook

An Aiken woman has filed a lawsuit against Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC after suffering significant financial loss due to the negligent actions of her financial advisor, John Douglas Engler, Sr.

According to the complaint, Engler recommended unsuitable, risky investment strategies and securities to his client and failed to advise her of the potential risks of these products. Instead, he assured her the investment had “no significant risk”, which was a misrepresentation.

Earlier this year, Robert Rikard and Jeremy Hodges, Rikard & Protopapas attorneys, filed the lawsuit against Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC in Aiken County on behalf of their client, Sue Benson.

Ms. Benson began working with John Engler (CRD #835827) in 2006 after her mother passed away. The agent was entrusted to manage Benson’s inheritance which should have been sufficient to provide her with financial security for the rest of her life, according to the complaint.

However, Ms. Benson, a former teacher, now lives near poverty and relies on social security due to Financial Advisor Engler’s negligence and mismanagement of her savings in her brokerage account with Ameriprise.

According to the lawsuit, in 2021, Ms. Benson told Engler that she might have to go on welfare to support herself, and he never called her again. The complaint adds that the 72-year-old woman lives a very modest lifestyle, rarely travels, and lives in a home she purchased with her mother in the early 2000s.

Engler never told Ms. Benson that her account was set up to trade on a margin, a very risky and unsuitable investment strategy for most people, he failed to explain the suitability of her investments, and she was never told of the risks of a margin trading strategy. Additionally, she never saw or approved the investment decisions Engler made on the account.

Over time, Ms. Benson stopped hearing from Engler other than when he would call without warning, and after hours to have her sign documents with little to no explanation. Engler’s behavior during the calls was often inappropriate and Ms. Benson alleges that she believed he was likely under the influence of alcohol.

Ms. Benson never asked for nor gave Engler permission to engage in the aggressive and unsuitable investment strategies that he did on her behalf. According to the lawsuit, he breached his fiduciary duties and did not act in his client’s best interest which caused her to suffer devastating financial loss and Ameriprise is responsible for those failures.

Contact Our Investment Fraud Lawyers

Rikard & Protopapas has represented clients all over South Carolina and around the country in situations involving significant investment loss and investment fraud just like Ms. Benson has suffered. Unfortunately, brokers and investment advisors do not always act in their clients’ best interests, so we’re here to provide guidance in these troubling times and fight for the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.

If you lost money as a result of a broker’s actions, please contact us immediately to speak with our legal professionals. It doesn’t cost anything to speak with someone on our team. Call us at 803-805-7546 or fill out a contact form on our website.

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