Ex-Broker for Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Indicted for Check Fraud

(Reuters) – A former broker for Wells Fargo Advisors LLC and Morgan Stanley has been indicted for defrauding an elder client out of $1.8 million by forging checks on her accounts, federal prosecutors said.

The former broker, Adorean Boleancu, wrote the checks on accounts he set up for his client, a widow who was 77 years old when the two met more than five years ago, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday in San Francisco federal court.

He was a San Francisco-based adviser at Wells Fargo Private Bank, a unit of Wells Fargo & Co, and previously at Morgan Stanley.

Boleancu, of Napa, California, pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included fraud and money laundering. He was released on $800,000 bond.

The allegations are false and would be proven so at trial, Ethan Balogh, Boleancu’s lawyer, said in an email.

Neither Morgan Stanley nor Wells Fargo was accused of any wrongdoing. A Wells Fargo spokesman said the company is working with federal prosecutors. A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said that most of Boleancu’s alleged misconduct occurred after he left the company in 2008. Morgan Stanley is also cooperating with federal prosecutors and other relevant agencies, the spokeswoman said.

Boleancu’s lawyer has identified the client as Donna Treadwell.

Boleancu established a brokerage account and home equity line of credit for Treadwell in 2007 while a broker at Morgan Stanley. Boleancu left Morgan Stanley in 2008 and continued to forge checks on her accounts through 2011, while he worked at Wells Fargo, according to the indictment.

The forged checks were made payable to Boleancu’s family members, credit card companies and others, according to the indictment. He made two checks totaling nearly $1.4 million payable to his girlfriend, who deposited them and transferred much of the proceeds to Boleancu, according to the indictment.

In March, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s industry-funded watchdog, barred Boleancu from the securities industry in an action stemming from the alleged fraud. He agreed in a settlement to pay $650,000 to Treadwell, while neither admitting nor denying FINRA’s findings.

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Lauren Young and Steve Orlofsky)