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Waco financial adviser sued by former employer for allegedly defrauding customers to the tune of $17M

UBS Financial Services demanding judge seize Robert Turner’s assets
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Published: May. 10, 2022 at 3:14 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A longtime Waco financial adviser is being sued by his former employer on allegations he misappropriated more than $17 million from at least 23 customers over a 24-year period.

UBS Financial Services is suing Robert Turner, of McGregor, on fraud allegations and is asking a judge to issue an order seizing Turner’s assets to help UBS offset the cost of repaying its customers for their losses.

The petition, filed Friday in Waco’s 414th State District Court, states that “since learning of Robert Turner’s scheme” UBS has reimbursed at least three customers a total of $5.8 million in an effort to “resolve this matter amicably.”

“UBS estimates the total customer losses may exceed $17 million,” the lawsuit alleges.

Turner, 67, worked at UBS 25 years before going to work for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in October 2021. He has since resigned from Stifel and has lost his certification as a financial adviser.

Turner, who has been questioned by the FBI about the transactions, declined comment Tuesday on the allegations in the lawsuit. The suit also names his wife, Stephanie Turner, as a defendant, but it alleges no impropriety on her part. She is named only because she is married to Turner and the litigation seeks to seize the couple’s community property assets.

Judge Vicki Menard has scheduled a hearing for Friday to consider UBS’ motion for a pre-judgment writ of attachment, which seeks to seize the Turners’ assets, and for expedited discovery in the case.

Houston attorney Paul Flack, who represents UBS, did not return phone messages on Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges Turner solicited at least 23 UBS customers to buy “purported investments” issued by Fairfax Financial Corporation, which the lawsuit says were not UBS products and UBS did not know he was selling.

“The investments were a sham,” the suit alleges. “UBS has learned that there were no assets backing the ‘investments.’ It was just a scheme that Robert Turner and his college buddy, Mark Woodward, cooked up.”

Woodward, 68, who lived in New Braunfels, took his own life Dec. 20, three days after the FBI confronted him about the allegations. The lawsuit identifies him as managing trustee of Fairfax.

Turner, the lawsuit claims, provided his clients fraudulent account statements that he and/or Woodward created. Turner gave the customers “portfolio summaries” that he generated without the approval or review of UBS, instead of giving them official UBS statements and reports, according to the lawsuit.

UBS customers were led to believe that their “purported investments” were earning between 4% and 8% compounded quarterly.

UBS is seeking the writ of attachment to prevent the Turners from “absconding with or concealing their remaining assets,” according to the suit.

“Due to the fact that Robert Turner’s indebtedness arose from fraud, the debt owed to UBS has not been secured by a mortgage, pledge or lien,” the lawsuit states. “Given the fraudulent nature and audacity of the scheme, it is likely that UBS will lose its ability to collect the debt owed unless a writ of attachment is issued.”

Attached to the lawsuit are affidavits from three of Turner’s customers, who allege they invested $333,741, $246,500 and $1.3 million, respectively, and “received nothing of value in return for the transactions.”

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