James Kenneth Couture (James K Couture, CRD #4406284, Bellingham, Massachusetts), according to allegations by the SEC and the FBI, ran a Worcester, Massachusetts, investment firm, and defrauded his clients of nearly $3 million by creating fictitious accounts and paying clients with funds from other clients. According to telegram.com, James K Couture, 42, is facing both civil and criminal actions in federal court, and has signed a plea agreement on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to the SEC complaint, filed June 1, 2021, James K Couture, carried out his alleged scheme by fraudulently prompting his clients to sell portions of their securities holdings and transfer the funds to an entity that, unbeknownst to his clients, Couture owned and controlled. Couture allegedly used the client funds for his own use and benefit, rather than reinvesting his clients’ funds. Couture then allegedly fabricated client documents reflecting securities transactions that never occurred. The FBI alleges in court documents that James Kenneth Couture allegedly perpetrated the fraud through his investment advisory services firm, The Private Wealth Management Group LLC, and a shell company he created, Legacy Financial Group LLC.
The SEC complaint stated that from February of 2009 until June of 2020, James K Couture was an investment advisor and broker/dealer registered representative of LPL Financial LLC, and as of December of 2019 had approximately $150 million in assets under management for investment advisory clients, both organizations and individuals. Couture was discharged from LPL in June of 2020.
The Acting U.S. Attorney stated that James K Couture, allegedly misappropriated approximately $2.8 million in client funds from 2009 to 2020 by transferring funds out of client accounts for investment in fictitious funds and using the money for other purposes.
According to the article in telegram.com, Federal electronic court records show that James Kenneth Couture signed a plea agreement on May 28, 2021, with the government on the criminal charges he faces, which are three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. A change of plea date was not entered but if Couture pleads guilty, he could face between 66 to 91 months in prison and forfeiture of $2.87 million.
James K Couture was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities on October 21, 2020.
Soreide Law Group posted the following article on December 23, 2020:
If you’ve experienced financial losses due to the actions or recommendations of James K Couture, formerly with LPL FINANCIAL LLC of WORCESTER, MA, contact Soreide Law Group and speak to an experienced securities lawyer at no cost regarding the possible recovery of your investment loss through a FINRA arbitration at: 888-760-6552.
Soreide Law Group represents clients nationwide before FINRA and operates on a contingency fee basis–no fee to you if no recovery.