BOCA RATON, Fla. — A 23-year-old stockbroker was arrested Friday after an audit disclosed a $47-million discrepancy at a Merrill Lynch brokerage office, the FBI said.
The state immediately moved to freeze the assets of Leslie Howard Roberts and three other employees who, it said, may have been involved in an alleged scheme to artificially inflate the value of trades in an account to increase their commissions.
"The customers's records show one figure. The firm's records show another," said Larry Fuchs, deputy state comptroller. "The broker may have inflated the value of various trades rather than absconding with actual dollars."
Arrested at Home
Agents arrested Roberts at his Boca Raton home on mail-fraud charges early Friday after investigators checked records overnight at a branch of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith.