Ami Forte Affair: Morgan Stanley Broker Accused Of Bilking Elderly Millionaire, Could Cost Bank $400 Million Penalty
Ami Forte allegedly carried on a 12-year affair with the Home Shopping Network’s co-founder, and now the infidelity could end up costing Morgan Stanley $400 million.
The broker is alleged to have carried on an affair with Roy Speer, the now-deceased co-founder of the Home Shopping Network. Speer’s widow claims that Forte and another investor fleeced the family, conducted more than 12,000 unauthorized trades and stealing $40 million in fees — all while Roy Speer was so incapacitated that he was wheelchair bound and in diapers.
“During the last several years of his life, Roy Speer suffered from significant diminished mental capacity, as well as from substantial physical infirmities,” said a representative from Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns LLP, lawyers for widow Lynnda Speer. “He was wheelchair bound and diapered, could not drive, and was attended to daily by a full-time caregiver.”
“A source present at the FINRA hearing says Morgan Stanley could be on the hook for a $400 million loss: $100 million in compensatory damages, and an additional $300 million in punitive damages.
“According to an earlier report, Morgan Stanley believed it might be on the hook for a lot less — only $170 million.
“The reason the fine may end being bigger than expected is because of a state statue in Florida, the Florida Elder Exploitation Law.”
Ami Forte has quite a stature in the banking world. She managed more than $2 billion in assets, and was twice named the top woman financial adviser by Barron’s.
There is some question as to whether Forte’s alleged affair broke the bank’s own rules on relationships. As the New York Post points out, the policy did not explicitly ban romantic relationships.
“Avoid any investment, activity or relationship that could, or could appear to, impair your judgment or interfere with your responsibilities on behalf of Morgan Stanley, our clients and our shareholders,” states the company’s policy.
The bank also appears ready to fight the allegations.
“We believe the claims are without merit and we are contesting them vigorously through the legal process,” a Morgan Stanley representative said in a statement.
There are some other twists as well. Sources say that Speer’s widow knew about the alleged affair, as did many others, but she had no desire to end the marriage.
“It was well known in the community that they were having an affair,” a source claimed.
Attempts by the New York Post to reach Ami Forte about the alleged affair were not successful.
[Image via CNBC]