Couple sues credit union, advisor over alleged $330K heist
A Georgia couple who thought they could trust the financial advisor that their local credit union assigned to them is claiming she swindled them out of their retirement savings, according to a complaint filed in Cobb County State Court.
Stacy Jamison and another advisor perpetrated a “bold and brash theft heist” to steal their retirement nest egg when the couple met with them at a branch of IBM Southeastern Employees’ Credit Union, they claim in the lawsuit.
Edward Ray, an IBM retiree, and his wife, Yvonne, allege that the credit union referred them to Jamison to discuss how the credit union and its broker-dealer, CUNA Brokerage Services, could make the management of their retirement assets easier by consolidating the assets and transferring them to CUNA.
At a meeting in November 2016, Jamison, along with Christopher Parris — an advisor who unbeknownst to the Rays had been suspended indefinitely from the industry — convinced the couple to transfer some $330,000, but the money never made it to their CUNA accounts as it was diverted “in whole or in part” to a company that was owned and controlled by Parris, their attorneys — Jason Doss of The Doss Firm and Justin O’Dell of O’Dell & O’Neal — claim.
“Instead of rolling over the $330,000 to CUNA brokerage accounts that were opened, Jamison and Parris diverted all of the proceeds to themselves,” they allege in the complaint.
The lawsuit accuses the duo of acting in concert to defraud the Rays using at least two companies owned by Jamison and/or Parris called Advisors Life and Consulting and United RL Capital Services.
The couple is suing both Jamison, who was employed by CUNA, as well as the credit union. It is also going after Quest IRA, a third-party administrator that Jamison and Parris used to allegedly divert a portion of the couple’s retirement assets and invest the proceeds in two unregistered promissory notes issued by United RL Capital Services, according to the lawsuit.
Jamison’s attorney, Alan Wolper of law firm Ulmer & Berne, did not return an email message seeking comment.
Jamison worked for CUNA Brokerage Services from August 2016 to August 2017, when she was permitted to resign amid an investigation into the disappearance of the Rays’ retirement funds, according to the couple’s complaint.
The lawsuit attacks the credit union for having hired Jamison, alleging that they knew or should have known that she could not be trusted. The lawyers also fault CUNA for allowing Jamison to resign instead of firing her. “The company let her resign and swept the problems under the proverbial rug,” they write.
CUNA declined to comment specifically on the pending litigation, saying that they take any alleged breach of trust seriously. “While CUNA Brokerage Services disputes the Rays’ claims, we are cooperating with regulators and law enforcement in their investigations of this matter,” Phil Tschudy, a spokesman for CUNA Mutual Group, said in an email.
Jamison at one point had worked for First American Securities, a firm whose parent entity was 50% owned by Parris. She left First American Securities in February 2015, at or around the time FINRA began investigating the firm and Parris with regard to their involvement with two potentially fraudulent private placements.
Parris was suspended indefinitely from the industry in November 2015 for failing to cooperate with FINRA’s probe and in March 2017 was expelled, according to documents filed in court.
Parris did not return phone messages left with the Lucian Group, where he works, according to his BrokerCheck report.
“Had IBM Southeastern Employees’ Credit Union or Quest IRA done a modicum of due diligence, the losses could have been avoided or mitigated to some degree,” Doss and O’Dell deride the firms in the lawsuit.
IBM Southeastern Employees’ Credit Union denied all allegations in its response to the complaint filed in court. Neither the credit union nor its attorneys, Barry Armstrong and Uchenna Ekuma-Nkama of law firm Dentons, responded to email or voice messages.
Since the lawsuit was filed, another victim in a different branch of the credit union has come forward, claiming that she was robbed of $75,000 by Jamison and Parris, according to Doss.
“Our investigation indicates that the Rays are not the only victims and that this may be a widespread fraudulent scheme spanning over multiple states,” he said.