An Indiana-based financial advisor is being accused of losing $1.3 million of a client’s money, RTV6 Indianapolis reported.
According to a lawsuit filed by Donna Wagner against Brian Simms, an advisor at Brendanwood Brokerage in Carmel, Ind., Simms took advantage of Wagner after her husband, Michael, passed away in 2017.
Mark Maddox, an attorney for Wagner, alleged that Simms was actually good friends with Michael Wagner and that Wagner wrote many checks to Simms on the basis of advice he offered. The lawsuit accuses Simms of fraud, negligence, breach of contract and violating the Indiana Securities Act.
“We had over a million dollars stolen, so it’s a big case,” Maddox told RTV6. “It was taking advantage of your best friend’s widow which is the most offensive.”
According to the suit, Simms counseled Donna Wagner on making claims on life insurance policies with North American Company for Life and Health Insurance and the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company. After receiving the payouts on these policies, Simms urged her to use the money to make additional investments. According to RTV6, Wagner wrote 34 checks to Brendanwood Brokerage with a cumulative amount of $1 million since her husband died, while receiving only $46,030 in return in the same period.
While Simms did not return RTV6’s requests for comment, Justin Walton, the attorney representing Simms, denied any wrongdoing.
“We ... plan a vigorous defense should this matter move forward,” he said, also telling RTV6 that Brendanwood remained open for business.