On September 9, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado entered a final judgment by consent against ex-Stifel investment adviser Steven D. Rodemer for allegedly defrauding an elderly widowed client, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
Rodemer, who was registered with the brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel as a general securities representative from November 2011 until his termination by the firm on January 21, 2020, is alleged to have misappropriated $451,889 of his long-time client’s funds from March 2012 through 2019, including $136,098 after May 2015. According to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Rodemer signed on March 23, 2020, Stifel terminated him for taking “money from a client account for his personal use without authorization.” The SEC, which did not name the client in its complaint, alleged that the client had “developed a relationship of trust and confidence” in Rodemer and “relied upon Rodemer for information regarding the balances and transactions in her accounts.” Beginning in March 2012, shortly after he became the client’s power of attorney, Rodemer started misappropriating funds from her and her late husband, using the power of attorney authority to withdraw funds from her brokerage and bank accounts “for a variety of personal expenses, including to cover construction and maintenance costs on his vacation home in Breckenridge, Colorado, to pay insurance premiums, and to fund an undisclosed brokerage account in his wife’s name at another broker-dealer.” Beginning in July 2018, Rodemer then also started using the client’s funds to pay his own personal expenses at gas stations, grocery stores, and hardware stores, as well as to pay his own personal credit card bills.
While Rodemer had initially cooperated in FINRA’s investigation, he ceased doing so in March 2020, and his counsel informed FINRA on March 20, 2020 that he would not appear for on-the-record testimony at any time, in direct violation of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. As a result, and upon Rodemer’s signing the previously mentioned letter of acceptance, waiver and consent, FINRA barred Rodemer from the industry, prohibiting him from associating in any capacity with any FINRA member. Subsequently, and immediately after the SEC filed its complaint on September 3, 2020, Rodemer agreed to pay $385,536 to settle the SEC’s claim against him. The final judgment that was entered in the federal district court in Colorado ordered Rodemer to pay this amount as a civil penalty, and according to the SEC’s complaint, he has already returned the misappropriated funds to the client’s account.