The Securities and Exchange Commission today (February 5) announced it has achieved an emergency asset freeze and temporary restraining order against Jacob Keith Cooper and his investment firm Total Wealth Management.
On his KOGO radio program, Cooper had touted his investment savvy and gained clients. But, said the securities agency last August, Cooper was taking kickbacks from the firms whose investments he was touting — without telling his clients.
Then the commission reached a settlement agreement with Cooper, requiring that he put $150,000 in escrow. But the agency said today that it learned that Cooper was pulling a double-dipper: he intended to pay the $150,000 by misappropriating funds from his investors — some of whom got burned twice.
The SEC immediately terminated the agreement and went to federal court for the temporary restraining order and asset freeze, which the agency got. "Cooper's use of investor funds for his settlement with the SEC was never disclosed to or authorized by clients," said the agency.
Cooper admitted to taking $150,000 in investor funds to cover his escrow settlement, although he insists it was "a loan," according to the SEC.
Cooper also admitted that he used investor funds to pay legal fees related to the SEC's proceedings. According to the agency's complaint, Cooper's Total Wealth Management has been charging clients unexplained, inflated "administrative fees" to pay those expenses. He has never told clients what those fees were for, despite repeated requests to do so.