Final chapter written in long tale of ex-broker who bilked disabled

SEC gets him to agree to ban from stock dealing

Convicted broker agrees to SEC ban

April 13, 2005|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

A Maryland broker who drained the account of his disabled client will have to repay $343,000 and refrain from securities dealing after a decade of legal wrangling ended.

Charles Zandford, a former broker in the Bethesda office of Dominick and Dominick LLC, was convicted in 1995 of wire fraud in U.S. District Court and sentenced to 52 months in prison and fined $10,800.

The court had found him guilty of stealing the life savings of his largest client, William R. Wood, a mentally and physically disabled man. Wood, who died in 1991, entrusted Zandford to invest $343,000 for the benefit of his daughter, Diane Wood Okstulski, also mentally disabled. She could not be reached yesterday.

Zandford is now living in Annapolis, having served the bulk of his criminal time.

The civil side of his case wound all the way to the Supreme Court, which determined in 2002 that the Securities and Exchange Commission had authority to pursue a complaint against him seeking the return of the money.

A District Court subsequently ordered him to repay the money and banned him from being a broker.

After the appeals period expired on the civil complaint last month, the SEC obtained an agreement from Zandford last week to abide by a separate commission ban on being a broker.

"It's nice to know after all this time that justice can be had for the people victimized," Amy Greer, district trial counsel in the SEC's Philadelphia office, said yesterday.

Attention now turns to collecting the money, which could prove difficult.

Zandford filed for bankruptcy in 1992, claiming no assets and has since been to prison. He was released in August 1999, according to federal records.

Zandford, who had acted as his own attorney at the end of his case, said yesterday from his Annapolis home that the facts were a matter of public record and declined to comment further.

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