• Peabody man charged with defrauding seniors


    PEABODY, Mass. (AP) - The secretary of state's office has charged a Peabody man with defrauding four elderly investment clients out of about $500,000, allegations he denies.

    John Michael Babiarz transferred his victims' assets to his personal and family accounts without their consent, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said in an administrative complaint Monday. Babiarz, 39, then used the money for personal expenses, including at stores, restaurants and pharmacies, to pay taxes, and even to pay a bankruptcy attorney, Galvin said.

    "This case is an egregious example of senior financial abuse, the sort of abuse my office is determined to root out in the securities industry," he said.

    Babiarz said the accusations are false.

    "I am going to deny them and have everything explained," he told The Salem News. "There is nothing to hide there."

    Babiarz worked for three broker-dealers between 2004 and September 2011, when he was fired from one as a result of customer complaints that he had misrepresented the features of a certificate of deposit, Galvin said. He has not been registered with the Massachusetts Securities Division in any capacity since then. He told his elderly clients that he worked for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Galvin said.

    The alleged victims range in age from 72 to 83 and are from Boston, Peabody, Swampscott and Danvers.

    Galvin's complaint seeks a return to the investors of their losses, a permanent ban for Babiarz from the securities business in Massachusetts and a fine.

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