Florida Broker Charged with Investment Fraud and Theft
According to federal court documents, William T. Johnson, owner of Professional Planning Group (“PPG”), has been charged with stealing more than $500,000 from 13 clients between 2003 and 2011. Through PPG based in Palm Beach Gardens, Johnson offered his clients insurance and investment services such as IRAs and certificates of deposit.
An information filed on August 31 in the U.S. District Court in Miami charges Johnson with fraud. An information is a formal criminal charge filed in court by a prosecutor without the aid of a grand jury.
The information alleges that Johnson misappropriated funds from 13 of his clients, including one in Palm Beach Gardens and one in Tequesta. According to the information, Johnson created fictitious account statements to hide his thefts.
According to Johnson’s publicly available FINRA Broker Check report, he was previously associated with Kovack Securities and Next Financial Group. In addition, the Broker Check report shows reflects that Johnson was punished by the State of Maine in the 1980’s for allegedly selling unregistered securities in Maine without being licensed to sell securities in Maine.
In June of 2012, while neither admitting nor denying the allegations, Johnson signed an Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he agreed to be permanently barred from associating with any FINRA member firm. The Broker Check report also reveals one pending FINRA arbitration case against Johnson involving allegations that Johnson converted approximately $285,000 of the customer’s funds for his own use.