TAMPA, Fla., / PRNewswire
An arbitration panel appointed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) awarded $32,840,000 in damages plus costs of $1,547,777, in addition to legal fees expected to be several million dollars, to the estate of Roy M. Speer and the Roy M. Speer Foundation following a 13 month arbitration with the investment banking firm Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and two of its stockbrokers, Ami Forte and Terry McCoy.
The arbitration panel found that Morgan Stanley, Forte and McCoy were guilty of elder exploitation, breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, unauthorized trading and churning, along with negligence, negligent supervision and they were unjustly enriched.
This case involved the accounts of Roy Speer, the co-founder of Home Shopping Network, and his Foundation against Ami Forte, his former mistress and stockbroker. The salacious details of the case involving their relationship were largely shielded from the public because FINRA arbitrations are held in closed private sessions.
Lynnda Speer, who was married to Mr. Speer for 52 years prior to his death in 2012 said, “I am very pleased the arbitrators realized Ms. Forte and her colleagues at Morgan Stanley breached their fiduciary duties to Roy and his Foundation and exploited him during a time of his continuing mental and physical decline.”
“We are hopeful the outcome of this case will prevent other elderly investors from being taken advantage of by their stockbrokers,” Mrs. Speer added.
Guy Burns, the attorney for Mrs. Speer, said, “These hearings lasted for over 13 months as Morgan Stanley, Ms. Forte and her branch manager Mr. McCoy gave this case the most vigorous defense possible; but, in the end, they could not defend their outrageous conduct.”
The Speer interests’ were represented by Guy M. Burns and Scott C. Ilgenfritz from the Tampa office of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns law firm, who have a long history of successfully representing claimants in securities matters.