Given the nearly daily lawsuits filed against Bank of America, Ken Lewis must be chomping at the bit to disassociate himself from his current employer. Having already invoked the outrage of a diverse group of people- from Andrew Cuomo to a disgruntled credit card customer to the handicapped to members of the military- BofA has now managed to go too far with a little old lady (and her husband). A BAC broker may have had little regard for the value of the assets he put an 82-year old retiree and his 75-year old wife into, but he did recognize the value of one thing, their trust. While brokers at other institutions have been sued for convincing senior citizens to take the plunge into the world of illiquid investments by some sweet talking and the occasional free lunch, the BAC broker in question went way above and beyond the call to fleece the Florida couple.
"The Broker gained Claimants' trust by (1) spending time at their house as often as four times a week; (2) fixing things in the house that needed repair; and (3) playing chess with Claimant. As a result of these frequent contacts, the Broker convinced Claimants, to purchase high risk, unsuitable investments, without full disclosure, in companies that had little, or no previous operating history," the claim alleges.
You might able to get away with playing games like this when asset bubbles are forming. But when they burst and cost people $1.425 million in "irreplacible capital", they'll sue and force you into the one situation you never want to be in, checkmate.
Bank of America Broker Betrayed Trust - Retirees Claim [Reuters]