ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A Navy veteran and retired Boeing machinist says he was conned out of his life savings by a man he trusted.
Frank Steinberger and his daughter tell 5 On Your Side the 76 year old’s financial advisor used Steinberger’s savings to supposedly make a high risk investment with a home builder that's been in trouble with the law before.
And on a fixed income, they say it's money Steinberger needs to live.
After high school it was four years of service in the Navy service. Then Steinberger gave nearly 40 years to McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing - building military jets.
“Through the years I worked all three shifts,” says Steinberger. He raised two daughters, paid for college, became a grandfather, and managed to save for retirement.
“That's what makes this so hard,” says his daughter Amy Swaminathan. “I know how hard he's worked and he doesn't deserve this.”
Frank, and his late wife, thought the man helping them save was more than just a financial advisor, but a family friend of nearly 30 years.
“They trusted him,” says Swaminathan. “He even came to my Mom's funeral, and I trusted him.”
But this spring Swaminathan says she noticed money missing from her dad’s retirement account. When she questioned the advisor, she says he claimed her dad agreed to cash-in his life savings, nearly $400,000, to invest in a St. Louis County housing development.
“He even said that he took my dad out to see the homes,” says Swaminathan. But Steinberger calls that “nothing but a big lie.”
According to a lawsuit filed by the family against the company backing the advisor, National Planning Corp., Steinberher also paid thousands in fees for withdrawing his money.
“He'll make it up. He'll more than make it up,” Swaminathan says the advisor told her when she questioned the moves. But says her father never saw any money in return and now has no savings to fall back on should his rent increase or should any medical costs come up.
And in the lawsuit, their attorney David Nueman with Israels & Nueman, PLC contends at least one of the documents to withdraw the money may have been forged or altered.
“In all actuality he stole my money,” says Steinberger. “He flat stole my money.”
“He new my dad's health is declining,” says Swaminathan, “and I feel like he preyed upon my dad.”
“And, when I depart this world I wanted to leave a substantial amount for my daughters and their kids,” said Steinberger. Something he worked to provide that he says has “taken” from him.
According to their attorney David Nueman the FBI and regulatory agencies are investigating this advisor, and the company that backed him - National Planning Corp.
We reached out to NPC and they declined to comment. 5 On Your Side has been unable to reach the advisor.
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