On or about May 11, 2005, 2 money market accounts were opened with Broker Dealer Matthew Shriber, an agent for WM financial, 1501-Fourth Ave, Suite 117, Seattle, WA 98101. One of the two accounts was for a corporate account and the other money market was for a 401k pension trust for a small business. WM financial used National Financial Services, a Fidelity Company as the clearing agent in this case.
I kept getting these e-mails from the Broker Dealer Matthew Shriber indicating that the application was missing documents. As a result, I had a telephone conference with both Matthew and his back office assistant Susan de Herrera during the month of June 2005.
After listening to the conversation and asking questions, my conclusion was that Matthew Shriber had not turned in most of the documents that were provided to him. Every time I asked Susan de Herrera whether or not she had received the Certificate of Licenses and Registrations, Annual Report that updates the ARticles of Incorporation, or the Corporate Resolution, Matthew Shriber simply replied "are these necessary". In essence he didn't bother to turn them in.
As a result, I came to the conclusion I needed to get out of there.
I tried transfering the account to another WM financial agent in Renton by the name of Jameson Shin, but only to find out that he was the person who actually gave Matthew most of his accounts when Matthew came on board in March of 2005. Matthew Shriber used to work at Merrill Lynch prior to coming to WM financial on March 1, 2005.
Prior to contacting Jameson Shin, I did call the branch manager of the bank where Jameson works and was advised that Jameson was looking for new clients. I was told that it was ok to leave paperwork for a transfer on his desk. However, on or about July 6 or 7, Jameson called me and left me a message indicating that he was mailing all of my paperwork back to me. He gave me an excuse that he only does conservative investments.
Subsequently I attempted to transfer the account to another Wamu Agent in the Renton Highlands. However his opening line was that he wanted to sell me securities in an organization that was in trouble with the federal regulators for cooking the books -- I think it was something like either Fannie Mae or something like that. A couple of days later he called me to tell me that his company doesn't do 401k accounts or corporate accounts and can't do the transfer.
At this point I received another e-mail from Matthew Shriber indicating that I should contact Tony Wright in the back office. I did contact Tony Wright and Tony Wright referred me to Ryan Schmidt, a supervisor that works out of the back office in Irvine, California. At Ryan's request, I did submit an entirely new and different application to Ryan Schmidt with the understanding that he would give it to Matthew Shriber in Seattle.
However, a couple of days later, I found out that Ryan Schmidt never bothered to forward the application and was now demanding a copy of our company plan. I questioned why Ryan Schmidt would want a plan document if he wasn't even willing to forward a copy of my application to the Broker Dealer Agent Matthew Shriber? I did call Kenneth Joy who works at WAMU corporate administration, but Kennethy Joy simply sent me an e-mail indicating that he turned it over to Ryan Schmidt. Apparently Kenneth Joy works underneath Kerry Killinger.
It became apparent after only a few weeks that I had made a serious mistake in selecting Matthew Shriber as an agent and WM financial as a Broker Dealer. The service was very bad and on July 27, 2005, I signed an authorization to transfer all funds from WM financial to Fidelity Investments in Downtown Seattle.
The net effect of the transfer would be to continue to use the same money market invested through the same clearing agent National Financial Services. The only thing the transfer would do would be to use a different broker dealer to manage the account.
I was treated exceptionally well by the Fidelity staff in downtown Seattle. They were very prompt, courteous, and genuinely appeared to know what they were doing. They even had a legal specialist on hand to review documents before they were submitted and my conclusion was that they were timely and didn't waste my time. You could get in, get out, and get your business done. They worked late hours making the experience a total pleasure. As a result, the document requirements to open the account were completed on July 28, 2005 -- only 24 hours later.
On or about August 1, 2005, I received a letter from Fidelity Investments advising me that WM financial had done something to their computer to prevent Fidelity Investments from transfering funds. In addition on or about August 3, 2005, I received a letter from WM financial indicating that they had issued me a check made out to American Petition Management instead of American Petition Management Inc 401k Pension Trust for Benefit of Employees.
Apparently the check was drawn on the 401k account and was short about $77.24 plus interest and did not reflect a deposit that WM financial had received and negotiated on or about July 15, 2005. In addition, WM financial has never addressed the issue of transfering funds to Fidelity for the corporate account nor has WM financial offered to pay me any of the money whatsoever on the corporate account. Both accounts have thousands of dollars in them.
I called Jim Farmer, the District Manager for WM financial on Friday August 19, 2005 and left a message with his staff assistant because he wasn't in. Jim Farmer called my home and left a message on my answering machine indicating that he was cognizant of the fact that I had filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Division to protest illegal activity on the account with respect to WM financial issuing unauthorized checks to a corporation without permission of the plan trustee. The message that Mr. Farmer left was that he was turning the entire thing over to his attorney.
At no time did James Farmer or anyone else at WAMU offer to refund any of the money in the corporate account. None of the funds in the corporate account and none of the funds in the 401k account are being held for liens or encumbrances. The money is simply gone and has been converted. This probably explains why Kerry Killinger, a senior executive officer at WAMU is so highly paid. I recall reading something in the paper a few years ago that seemed to indicate his salary was over 1 billion dollars annually. Kind of like the Enron scandal.
David Tuttle, a representative of the US Department of Labor has advised me that WM financial is probably not in compliance with federal regulations. You are not supposed to mix funds between pension accounts and corporate accounts -- especially without permission of the trustee. My informants advise me that the US Department of Labor handles matters relating to fiduciaries and therefore has jurisdiction on the matter.
Consumers should be warned about the dangers of doing any business with either Washington Mutual Bank or WM financial. They are crooked and have robbed thousands of dollars from us without a good explanation. A review of the OTS (Office of the Treasury) Website appears to indicate that the OTS has issued several cease and decist orders against Washington Mutual Bank.
One can only wonder why the government continues to allow such crooked operators to stay in business.
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