SEC charges father-and-son team with fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Michael Sztrom, his son, David, and their company, Sztrom Wealth Management, with defrauding advisory clients by creating the false impression that Michael Sztrom was associated with registered investment adviser Advanced Practice Advisors.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that, from November 2015 through March 2018, the Sztroms provided investment advice to clients through their Rancho Santa Fe, California-based firm, Sztrom Wealth Management, and that they concealed from clients that Michael Sztrom was not associated with APA or any registered investment adviser and was not subject to compliance oversight by any firm.

According to the complaint, David also allowed Michael to use APA’s clearing broker for client transactions. Michael also impersonated David on telephone calls with the clearing broker on at least 38 separate occasions, leading the clearing broker to terminate its agreement with APA.

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The Sztroms’ deceptions and multiple failures to disclose what they were doing breached their fiduciary duties to clients, the SEC charged. It is seeking permanent injunctions and undisclosed civil money penalties against all defendants.

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