Maryland insurance regulators want to revoke the license of investment adviser Philippe Rousseaux, arguing he and one of his companies, Everest Wealth Management Inc., should pay $62,400 in administrative penalties for improper business practices.
They also want certain videos of Rousseaux giving investment advice removed from YouTube.
In a preliminary order issued Wednesday, the Maryland Insurance Administration accused Rousseaux and Everest of falsifying information on forms, using misleading language in infomercials and failing to report to the administration that the state of Delaware took an administrative action against another of Rousseaux’s companies, Everest Investment Advisors Inc., resulting in a $12,500 fine.
But Rousseaux, whose “Money Guys” TV commercials can be seen in the Baltimore area, still has a chance to fight the order — and he will, Everest’s attorney, Alex J. Brown, said Thursday.
“The investigation is not final until there has been a hearing,” said Brown, a partner at Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler in Baltimore. “We certainly plan to request a hearing.”
Once that request has been made, the orders are stayed, and it could be months before a hearing is actually held, Brown said.
The order also accuses Rousseaux and Everest of pre-signing annuity applications on which his signature needed to be dated, using “psychological warfare” tactics to manipulate clients into trusting him, and using a special VIP program to encourage existing clients to solicit new business for Everest even though those clients were not licensed insurance producers.
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced in June that he wanted to shut down Rousseaux’s two Towson-based companies for misuse of a Medallion stamp — used to verify a client’s signature — and falsely claiming to investors that they would not be charged brokerage and investment fees for certain product, among other allegations.
Rousseaux issued a statement at the time calling the allegations “spurious” and unsupported by the facts, and later sued the Securities Division of Frosh’s office to stop a show-cause order issued by the division.
A hearing on a motion to dismiss Rousseaux’s complaint is scheduled for Thursday in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Brown said that the timing of the insurance administration’s order against his client was interesting.
“It seems like the securities tail wagging the insurance dog,” Brown said.
The insurance administration investigation includes information provided by Frosh’s office, according to the order.
Orders aren’t usually posted on the administration’s website until after they are final, but the agency issued a press release Thursday announcing the order against Rousseaux and provided a copy of the order to The Daily Record upon request.
The agency does not always put out press releases announcing orders.
The administration also wants to fine and revoke the licenses of two other Everest employees — John George Anthony and Michael DiPaula — and fine a third — Taylor Seth McCandless — in connection with the company’s alleged violations.
Daily Record reporter Steve Lash contributed to this story.