William Galvin, secretary of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, has charged a securities firm operating at Citizens Bank locations with “dishonest and unethical conduct” for selling an elderly woman funds that were riskier than her stated investment tolerance. Galvin seeks restitution from Citizens Securities for the anonymous investor, who lost roughly $7,000 when she got out of the investment portfolio.

Despite indicating a low tolerance for the risk, the investor was allegedly sold aggressive investment strategies, including alternative and emerging market funds, as well as funds that buy high-yield bonds. The Citizens Bank branch where she first met the financial consultant failed to adequately disclose the location’s brokerage activities and did not identify who the consultant worked for, leaving the impression that he worked for the bank.

“Banks that offer non-bank financial services have an obligation to make clear the distinction between the banking services and the other financial services provided at the same location,” Galvin said. “This is particularly important when dealing with their senior customers who may have a traditional view of banks.”

Citizens Bank is reviewing the complaint. “We take our responsibility to help customers make informed decisions about their finances very seriously,” stated a spokesman for Citizens.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.