Securities investigation nets state $270,000

Dale Schaft, Information Management Officer, 802-828-4872
03/06/2014 (All day)

MONTPELIER – Susan L. Donegan, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, announced today that the state has received more than $270,000 as the result of a settlement reached last week into the conduct of a Rutland area securities broker. The investigation determined that George “Rip” Lincoln IV of Shrewsbury had made overly risky recommendations to many clients and then manipulated their financial records to mislead his supervisors.

Between 2008 and 2012, Lincoln led his supervisors to believe that some speculative investments were appropriate for his clients even though he was aware of his clients’ need for more conservative investments and/or limited investable assets. As a result, many Vermonters’ portfolios contained unsuitable investments.

Lincoln was an agent for CCO Investment Services Corp., a national investment adviser and subsidiary affiliate of RBS Citizens and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. He has paid the department $97,000 in penalties and costs and his license to sell securities in Vermont has been suspended. CCO paid $175,000 in a separate settlement related to Lincoln’s conduct and the firm’s failure to adequately supervise him.

Donegan said all client losses have been repaid and other remedial actions have been taken by the firm.

“CCO has taken corrective actions to protect Vermonters from being placed into speculative investments that are out of line with their investment objectives,” she said, “further, full restitution has been paid to those Vermonters who were adversely affected by past practices.”

“Protecting Vermont consumers is the department’s number one priority,” Donegan said, “so I appreciate the efforts CCO has made to implement these corrective measures.”