SEC charges Wausau investment advisor with defrauding $1.9 million from elderly clients

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a civil lawsuit against a former investment advisor who worked in both Wausau and Rhinelander and allegedly defrauded at least 13 clients of approximately $1.9 million.

Anthony Liddle, a Wausau resident, ran the now shuttered Prosper Wealth Management, LLC. Liddle has worked in the securities industry since 2008 and as an investment advisor since at least 2011.

After forming PWM, Liddle acted as an investment adviser and provided investment advice to more than 150 advisory clients. Beginning in June 2019 and continuing through May 2022, Liddle allegedly carried out a fraudulent scheme that defrauded at least 13 of his advisory clients, most of whom were senior citizens.

Liddle allegedly told his clients their portfolios had become too risky and needed to be replaced with less risky securities. However, these “less risky” securities were often rated as high risk and were also unavailable.

The complaint alleges that Liddle had advisory clients send money directly to his investment advisory company, where Liddle misappropriated client funds and never invested the money on his clients’ behalf. The complaint also alleges that Liddle then fabricated statements and made purported investment payments that were in fact coming from defrauded client funds, to advisory clients in order to continue his fraudulent scheme.

“In May 2022, when Liddle’s lies were exposed by one of his advisory clients, he attempted to cover his theft by drafting promissory notes between his victims and PWM, backdating the documents and forging his clients’ signatures,” reads the complaint in the case. “However the falsified PWM account statements Liddle had previously given to clients showed the client victims were invested in GWG or other securities—not loaning money to PWM.”

GWG Holdings, Inc. is a Dallas-based company that acquired life insurance policies in the secondary market. The complaint in the case states that as part of his scheme, Liddle misrepresented the risk of GWG L Bonds and similar investments to several of his clients. GWG later ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2022. 

The SEC seeks to recover the $1.9 million Liddle allegedly defrauded from clients, as well as additional civil penalties.

Liddle did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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