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The better to bamboozle you

Securities & Exchange Commission freezes assets of Total Wealth Management

Jacob Cooper
Jacob Cooper

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.

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Jacob Cooper
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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.

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Comments
13

If I remember correctly, his program is on KOGO on Saturday (and maybe Sunday, too.) Will he be on the air this weekend? If he is, what will he say? And if he isn't on, whatever will KOGO put on as his replacement?

Feb. 5, 2015

Maybe they could do a reading of this book about Charles Ponzi: Zuckoff, Mitchell (2005), Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend, New York: Random House, ISBN 1-4000-6039-7

Feb. 5, 2015

dwbat: There have been several books about Charles Ponzi. He had people who believed in him and followed him right into the grave. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 5, 2015

Visduh: I am sure you know how it works these days. The so-called financial experts on radio pay for their time on the air. This is a ticket to disaster and it has been that in San Diego, several times over. I don't know if he is still on KOGO, but if that station wants any credibility, it should have taken him off last April when the first of the charges were made. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 5, 2015

Don, I haven't paid much attention to those weekend AM radio shows with the financial "experts" to know if I've heard of Total Wealth Management in recent weeks or months. But I do recall enough to know that many of those who were on radio have fallen greatly. Best and biggest example is Ray Lucia, but there were many more. If I had to make a generalization, I'd say that the slicker and smoother the patter, the more likely they were to be phonies and rip-off artists.

You're probably right about KOGO. That station doesn't need that sort of poor publicity. But, they need to vet those advisors before they sell them time. This sort of junk does splash back on the station. But does the station care at all? It should, but I'm not sure.

Feb. 5, 2015

Visduh: Yes, Ray Lucia, W. Aubrey Morrow, and Gabriel Wisdom are three that come to mind. There have been others. I don't think KOGO will vet advisers as long as they pay for their air times. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 6, 2015

It is nice to be a Joe Average with not enough funds to worry about having someone manage my wealth. I'll just have a beer and enjoy my small cookie cutter tract home and worry about mowing my lawn, that is if I don't shut the water off and let it go 'natural'.

Feb. 5, 2015

AlexClarke: Haven't you been warned about a long drought? If you mow your lawn, you are doing the wrong thing. You must desertify. Take out the grass and plant cactuses. See, there ARE things you can worry about. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 5, 2015

Got my water bill so no more lawn. Now I have to decide what color rock to put in.

Feb. 6, 2015

AlexClarke: How about chartreuse rocks? They would go well with a purple home. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 6, 2015

Soy Pollitiquillo: The SEC is a civil agency. It doesn't put people in prison. However, there are cases in which the U.S. attorney's office may have a parallel investigation and file criminal charges. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 5, 2015

I always wonder why, if these guys are so smart they don't keep quiet and follow their own advice ?

Feb. 6, 2015

Murphyjunk: That's the question that should pop into the mind of anybody listening to someone claiming that he or she knows how to beat the market. If they are so smart, why don't they keep it to themselves and just rake in the money? The answer is that these faux experts make their money selling advice to others, not following their own advice.

I once did several stories on a Washington state outfit that put on seminars telling investors how to make bizillions. This company had its own fund, which was publicly held. The company was losing money in its own fund. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 6, 2015

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