An 83-year-old Omaha woman has accused a financial adviser of shifting her life savings into an investment that ran out of money last year, rather than paying her each month for the rest of her life as she expected.
Margie Carney filed the lawsuit in Douglas County District Court against Dale Percival, president of Financial Visions of Omaha. The lawsuit in Douglas County District Court also names Great American Life Insurance Co. of Cincinnati and two Nebraska companies owned by Percival, Visions Management and Wealth Protection Professionals.
Percival declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Great American Insurance. Percival hosts a weekly radio show called “The Art of Aging” on KCRO, a Christian radio station in Omaha. The paid program began after the investments that are the subject of the lawsuit, filed in Douglas County District Court.
Carney, a retired real estate agent who is unmarried and has no children, said that in 2003 she sold her home for about $127,000 and bought an annuity that would pay her $968 a month until she turned 90. The payment and her Social Security benefits allowed her to live comfortably in an apartment, she said.
In 2006, a friend invited her to a free lunch presentation hosted by Percival, who eventually advised her to switch to an annuity, issued by Great American, that he said would pay $1,110 a month for the rest of her life, Carney.
She also said she paid Percival $365 a year to be her financial adviser. She said she was unable to read the small print on papers she signed because of macular degeneration.
“I trusted him,” she said. “I should have had somebody go in with me, but I didn't.”
But the payments stopped in May 2011, and eventually Percival told her, “You don't have any more money,” she said. The lawsuit alleges that Percival or others with his companies diverted her money for their own use and failed to act in good faith, and that Percival made investments on behalf of Carney to earn commissions rather than in her best interests. The lawsuit asks to have the investments rescinded and for the payments she should have received.
Lincoln attorney J.L. Spray, who represents Carney, said that the expected payments would total about $157,000 if she lives as many years as is typical. He said he is representing her in return for receiving a share of any judgment. In such a case, he said, attorneys may receive 30 percent.
Carney also filed a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private group that oversees financial brokers, alleging fraud, concealment, negligence and breach of contract and fiduciary duty. The regulatory group can hold arbitrations to settle such complaints.
The group's records show that Percival paid a $1,000 administrative fine in 2007 for filing an inaccurate or incomplete form and that the Internal Revenue Service has a $51,000 tax judgment or lien against him.
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