Afghan Murder Suspect ‘Took My Life Savings,’ Says Retiree

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Robert Bales, the staff sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians, enlisted in the U.S. Army at the same time he was trying to avoid answering allegations he defrauded an elderly Ohio couple of their life savings in a stock fraud, according to federal documents reviewed by ABC News.

"He robbed me of my life savings," Gary Liebschner of Carroll, Ohio, told ABC News.

Financial regulators found that Bales "engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments," according to a report on Bales filed in 2003.  Bales and his associates were ordered to pay Liebschner $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages but have yet to do so, according to Liebschner.

"We didn't know where he was," Liebschner told ABC News.  "We heard the Bahamas, and all kinds of places."

Liebschner says he recognized Bales after news reports named him as the American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a shooting rampage.

Liebschner filed a complaint against Bales in May 2000, claiming Bales took his life savings of $852,000 in AT&T stock and through a series of trades reduced its value to nothing.

The Ohio retiree recalled Bales as a "smooth talker."  Asked if he regarded Bales as a con man, Liebschner said, "You've hit the nail on the head."

At the time, Bales worked for an Ohio brokerage firm, MPI.

According to federal documents, Bales failed to appear at an arbitration hearing to resolve Liebschner's complaint. 

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheryl213 Cheryl Jackson

    I had to pee in a cup to get the job that i’m currently at,
    yet the army hands this guy a weapon without a background check?

  • Srogersthomas

     DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN YELLOW JOURNALISM REGARDING THE SENATIONAL NEWS
    REPORT THIS MORING THAT THE ACCUSED SSGT. “HE TOOK ALL MY SAVINGS”.
    HERE IS THE REST OF THE STORY: (THE SSGT. WORKED FOR A COMPANY NAMED
    MPI) GunnAllen Buys Firm With Legal Problems
    GunnAllen Financial Inc., reportedly purchased the brokerage firm MPI
    for about $250,000, a very small price for a firm with 25 employees,
    including 17 brokers, and a firm with about $2.5 million in revenues. A
    firm of this size would normally sell for at least ten times the amount
    paid by GunnAllen, yet a further look at MPI’s situation could shed
    light on the low price. At the time of the sale, MPI was
    named in a lawsuit filed over its dealings on behalf of West
    Virginia-based First National Bank of Keystone, which federal regulators
    shut down in one of the largest bank failures in U.S. history. The
    suit claimed the brokers conspired with bank insiders to dump Keystone
    stock after regulators intensified their investigation of the bank. MPI
    also had financial problems, losing over $350,000 the previous year.
    MPI was later fined by regulators for falling below its financial “net
    capital” requirements. MPI’s owner claimed that neither legal
    nor financial problems was the reason for the sale, although he admitted
    that an earlier deal fell through and GunnAllen’s offer was apparently
    the best available. Meanwhile, GunnAllen officials claimed they were
    not concerned with problems at MPI’s because GunnAllen did not assume
    MPI’s liabilities. GunnAllen Ordered to Pay $1.8 Million to Investor
    A Federal Court in San Francisco ordered GunnAllen Financial, Inc. and
    its former broker to pay an investor $1.8 million for claims. As part
    of the award, GunnAllen was ordered to pay the client almost $1.5
    million in punitive damages for claims which included “churning” the
    client’s account for commissions. The broker, who moved then moved to
    R.M Stark & Company prior to the judgment, was also ordered to pay
    over $120,000 in punitive damages for his role. According to
    court papers, an account was opened at GunnAllen for the investor in
    February of 2004, with cash and securities totaling $428,000. After only
    three months the account had been charged commissions of $128,840
    (almost one-third of the account value and an annualized rate of more
    than 100%). By then, the trading losses reached $240,381. Thus, the
    majority of the losses in the account were apparently caused by the
    commissions charged. In addition to the punitive damages, the court
    awarded all of the losses the victim had incurred. The case
    drew special attention because, although GunnAllen account agreement
    called for arbitration of disputes, it offered the client the
    alternative of filing a claim in The New York Stock Exchange’s
    arbitration forum. Yet, because GunnAllen was not one of its members,
    the NYSE refused to go forward with a claim when filed there.
    The case was then filed in the San Francisco Federal Court, which
    refused to order the case to the National Association of Securities
    Dealers, the other alternative forum stated. (This outcome would not
    likely happen today because the NASD and NYSE forums have now merged
    into the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.) Based on the courts
    refusal to order the case to the NASD, the court’s final judgment has
    been appealed. http://www.stockbroker-fraud.com/lawyer-attorney-1248734.html

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