$80M lawsuit filed against financial advisor accused of murder
A financial advisor accused of killing one of his clients is now facing an $80 million class-action lawsuit.
Brian Malley, 55, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Victoria Shachtay, a disabled mother who died in November 2011 when an explosive package was delivered to her home in Innisfail, Alta.
Malley, who worked for Assante Wealth Management, is accused of sending that package.
Malley now faces allegations he lost an estimated $50 million for dozens of clients. The claims are contained in a lawsuit filed this week in Red Deer Court of Queen's Bench.
"This was their retirement savings," said Rob Armstrong, one of lawyers behind the lawsuit. "The allegations are that Mr. Malley was placing them in very speculative and high risk investments and losing money."
The statement of claim suggests Malley's conduct was "high-handed, malicious and highly reprehensible."
The document further alleges that Malley "acted in his own best interests which were in conflict with the interests of his client class members."
The lawsuit claims that Malley invested in equities that were riskier than what his clients may have wanted and made frequent trades within a short time-frame to earn more commissions.
It is also alleged that Malley encouraged his clients to expand their size of investment accounts by borrowing more money. This was done in order to increase his commissions, the document claims.
Armstrong believes the case could involve as many as 100 plaintiffs.
"These are sort of regular, hard-working people. So we're not talking huge numbers for most of the individuals," he said. "But it is substantial. In some cases, it's people's life savings, or in other cases, it's a portion of it."
Malley's wife Christine Malley, Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Ltd. and Assante Capital Management Ltd. are also named in the statement of claim.
In addition to the $50 million in losses, the lawsuit also seeks $20 million in general damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
The allegations in the court documents have not been proven in court. Class-action lawsuits must be certified by a judge before they can proceed.