Fine levied against Md. insurance, financial firm known as ‘The Money Guys’
December 16, 2015 by Taylor Seth McCandless, John George Anthony and Michael DiPaula
The Maryland Insurance Administration has issued a $62,400 fine against Everest Wealth Management Inc. and Philip A. Rousseaux, Jr., the insurance agent who holds the producer license for the firm.
The MIA action followed the state agency’s investigation and previous action by Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh against the Towson, Md.-based financial services firm, which sells insurance products, including fixed index annuities.
In June, the Office of the Attorney General Securities Division announced efforts to shut down another component of Everest Wealth Management, Inc. and Everest Investment Advisors, Inc. because of alleged problems with the firms’ investment advisory operations.
Rousseaux and his team, which are known on local radio shows they sponsor as “The Money Guys,” have the right to request a hearing based on the MIA action.
In December 2014 the MIA opened an investigation into the insurance related activities of Everest, including information provided by the Maryland Attorney General Office’s Securities Division. The MIA said its investigation determined that Everest:
- improperly used medallion stamps when completing client applications;
- improperly used copies of Rousseaux’ signature when he was not present in the office;
- failed to report to the Insurance Administration that an administrative action was taken against them by the State of Delaware;
- used misleading language in an “infomercial” produced by Everest and posted to the internet;
- blurred lines between Everest Wealth Management, an insurance agency and Everest Investment Advisors, manipulating prospects with “mind games” in order to obtain business.
In the Attorney General’s action earlier this year, the agency alleged that Rousseaux and his companies used prohibited marketing tactics to blur the distinction between insurance products and fee-based investment advisory services.
Additional allegations include that Everest Investment Advisors misrepresented the total amount of assets under management, making the company look larger for marketing purposes. The Attorney General is seeking to permanently prohibit Rousseaux from offering investment advisory services in Maryland.
The Maryland Insurance Administration also issued orders against the following employees of Everest for their roles in violating the Maryland