SEC Charges Recidivist Keith Springer with Defrauding Retirees
On December 19, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Sacramento, California-based investment adviser firm Springer Investment Management, Inc. dba Springer Financial Advisors (SFA) and owner Keith Springer with defrauding hundreds of retail clients, most of them in or close to retirement. Meanwhile, Springer was paying outside agencies to hide his fraudulent past from internet searches and instructing his employees not to disclose the information to clients or potential clients. In the past, he has been alleged with charging clients 2%, while moving their investments into a third party fund that charged 0.35%.
The SEC’s complaint “alleges that Springer and SFA received millions of dollars in undisclosed compensation and other benefits for recommending certain investment products while claiming that they did not have any conflicts of interest. According to the complaint, many clients learned of Springer through his radio show, “Smart Money with Keith Springer,” and Springer misled prospective clients into believing he was selected to host the show because of his industry expertise. In reality, SFA paid to broadcast the show. The SEC’s complaint further alleges that Springer went to great lengths to hide prior charges by the SEC and his disciplinary history with the New York Stock Exchange, hiring internet search suppression consultants and instructing employees not to provide the information to prospective clients.”
Springer fought back against the charges in a statement to MarketWatch in Trumpian fashion, calling the charges “totally unfair” and playing himself as the victim. Springer said that the SEC is just targeting him unfairly and that he now knows what it feels like to be David going up against Goliath. Springer’s lawyers wrote to the SEC that “At worst…Mr. Springer may have overlooked whether certain potential conflicts of interest were adequately disclosed.”
According to MarketWatch, Springer “claimed to be a “Qualified Retirement Advisor,” when there is no such designation, and used faked Forbes and Money Magazine logos to claim falsely that his articles had been published in the magazines.”