Thrivent Advisor Matthes to Serve 63 Month Prison Term; Pay $2.4M in Restitution

Mutual of Omaha Advisor Matthes to Serve 63 Month Prison Term; Pay $2.4M in Restitution

As a financial analyst and author, I’m often disheartened by the prevalence of investment scams, a phenomenon all too common in my field. The incident involving Edward E. Matthes stands out as particularly distressing. Echoing Warren Buffet’s insightful words, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” the tale of Matthes serves as a stark reminder of the delicate nature of trust and the deep consequences that follow when it’s violated.

**Unpacking the Case**

Edward E. Matthes, a onetime advisor with Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, misappropriated $2.6 million – a distressing revelation, especially given his victims included his father and a cognitively disabled individual. Matthes’ deception was built on a fake investment promising 4% yearly returns, maintained by phony statements. His crimes were driven by greed, funding a life of luxury at his clients’ expense.

It’s important to underscore that the harm inflicted went beyond financial loss. The emotional betrayal felt by those who trusted Matthes cannot be overstated and serves as a sober reminder of the profound effects of financial fraud.

**Reviewing the Advisor’s History**

Digging into Matthes’ past, it’s concerning to find warning signs that hinted at future misconduct. His BrokerCheck record spoke to earlier indiscretions, with a $75,000 settlement for an unsuitable transfer and his termination from Mutual of Omaha for falsifying account statements. This calls into question the oversight and due diligence of the firms that employed him.

**Clarifying FINRA Regulations**

Understanding financial regulations is key to protecting investors. FINRA Rule 2111, or the Suitability Rule, is essential. Simply put, it demands that advisors recommend investments that align with their clients’ best interests, considering their financial status, objectives, and other factors. This concept seems straightforward, but as we see in Matthes’ case, it’s a rule that can be ignored, with devastating consequences.

**The Outcome and Lessons Learned**

Matthes was sentenced to a 63-month prison term and ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution. This stern punishment reflects the seriousness with which such financial crimes are taken. The effects on those defrauded are immeasurable, with damages to their financial and emotional well-being.

This unfortunate tale reinforces the necessity for investors to be vigilant. It’s crucial to vet your financial advisors, be wary of too-good-to-be-true promises, and insist on transparency. Trust must be earned and maintained through honesty and accountability – it is the cornerstone of any financial relationship.

It’s also helpful and straightforward to check an advisor’s history through tools like the [FINRA CRM number](http://brokercheck.finra.org/), which can reveal any past misconduct.

In this industry, where money and trust intersect, we find that careful oversight is not just advisable—it’s a critical safeguard. The impact of one rogue advisor can be extensive, undermining the foundational trust of the financial services sector. Indeed, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards found that nearly one in ten advisors has faced disciplinary action for wrongdoing.

As we absorb the lessons from Matthes’ case, let’s remember that accountability, thorough research, and transparency are not optional accessories but essential protections. Our investments deserve to be handled with care, expertise, and genuine respect. Let this story be a guiding light for integrity in finance, steering us away from the shadows where misconduct can thrive.

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