ARK FRANCIS SPEAKMAN CRD#: 2693667, a 60 year-old financial advisor from Grove City, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court recently to 60 months in prison for an investment scheme that defrauded his clients out of more than $1.1 million.
According to the court records, between 2000 and 2015, Mark F Speakman was a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial, and between 2002 and 2015 he defrauded his clients by misappropriating their funds.
Speakman allegedly convinced his clients to remove their funds from their Ameriprise Financial accounts and invest them in Centrax, a fraudulent real estate investment trust. Instead of investing the funds in real estate as he had told his clients, he stole their money. He took $870,000 from seven of his victims for the real estate scheme and used the money for his own personal use.
In just one example, Mark F Speakman convinced one of his victims to transfer $125,000 outside of her Ameriprise account and invest instead in Centrax. He used the money for his own personal benefit. This victim developed terminal cancer, and emailed Speakman regarding her declining health and told him to write checks to an estate-planning attorney and to a local crematorium where she was pre-purchasing her cremation services. The victim told Speakman she was counting on the Centrax trust to avoid placing a burden on her family when she died and intended to use her Centrax investment to pay off the mortgage on her home. Speakman convinced the victim not to liquidate her Centrax investment. After she died, he tried to convince the victim’s family to do the same. When they insisted Speakman liquidate her Centrax investment, Speakman avoided all communication with the family.
In 2014, one of Speakman’s clients who had invested in Centrax told Speakman that he wanted to cash out his investment. However, Speakman had already misappropriated those funds and had no way to pay him back. So then Speakman convinced another client and three of his family members to invest in gold coins. But Speakman did not invest the money in gold coins and diverted the money in order to pay back the previous victim.
Speakman received nearly $1.2 million from victims of his fraudulent Ponzi like scheme.
Speakman also filed a false federal income tax return for 2014, omitting $275,000 in income generated by his illegal scheme. The total of tax loss to the IRS for 2002 through 2014 was approximately $300,000.
Speakman pleaded guilty in December of 2016 to one count each of: wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false federal income tax return with the IRS. As part of his plea, Speakman agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution to the victims of his investment fraud scheme and approximately $300,000 in restitution to the IRS.
According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, FINRA has barred Mark F Speakman from ever acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Mark F Speakman was registered in the securities industry for 19 years and was listed with 2 firms, the most recent listed below:
02/08/1996 – 11/03/2015 AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. – GROVE CITY, OH
If you were one of the many victims of former Ameriprise Financial of Grove City, Ohio broker, Mark F Speakman, call Soreide Law Group and speak to a lawyer regarding the possible recovery of your financial losses at: 888-760-6552.
Soreide Law Group represents clients nationwide before FINRA. We operate on a contingency fee basis. Let our years of experience work for you.