High profile investor under investigation

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by ERIC WILKINSON & JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 24, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 24 at 11:16 PM

SEATTLE - David Bruce was looking for someone he could trust with his life savings as he headed toward retirement. He found Rhonda Breard.

"She was a very vibrant, fun, knowledgeable person," he said from his Sammamish home.

Rhonda Breard rose to local prominence through a series of TV infomercials and financial seminars. David Bruce bought in, entrusting her with his financial future.

"Just recently we talked about how the whole family was doing and we're all looking forward to retirement," said Bruce.

Bruce says Breard advised him to roll over his savings into investments with Jackson National Insurance in 2007. He wrote a check for nearly $400,000 to "Breard & Associates/Jackson National." But he says the insurance company never got the money, even though he has paperwork showing the money had been transferred.

When he called the insurance company he says a representative told him that the document Breard sent him had been "doctored." Bruce says it appears Breard has been falsifying documents and then pocketing the money.

And that may not be the first time.

State regulators tell KING 5 Breard's contract as financial advisor with ING Investments has been terminated over issues surrounding the "altering of customer statements."

Rhonda Breard's plush Kirkland offices remained dark and locked Wednesday.

According to regulators, on February 10, Breard's ability to act as a broker was terminated in nine states including Washington and Oregon.

But the official report on Breard's career shows a number of complaints and enforcement actions.

Early in her career she was permitted to resign from Smith Barney over a case of alleged unauthorized trading. Her license was suspended for 10 days, she was fined $15,000, and was forced to retake her broker's exam over a claim she made transactions without written authority.

In order to settle other complaints, Breard paid out anywhere from some $6,000 all the way up to nearly $75,000.

Those who know Breard say she enjoys the finest things in life.

Breard lives in a waterfront home on Lake Washington. The deed dated November 2006 shows the home sold for more than $2.5 million.

King County tax records show she also owns a Redmond home which her trust purchased in 2007 for more than $2.25 million.

Department of Licensing records show she has a string of eight cars, from a 2010 Chevy Camaro to a 2006 Dodge Charger.

The Department of Licensing also says she has a motorhome, six snowmobiles, three jet skis, assorted trailers, and a 2006 Ford pickup, perhaps to do some hauling.

A man who answered the door at Breard's home told us she is suffering from a "medical trauma" and is unable to talk with reporters.

The State Department of Financial Institutions is looking into Breard. There is no word yet as to how many people might be affected or how much money is involved. The King County Sheriff's Department is also investigating.

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