First Republic Bank Financial Advisor Loses Elderly Couple’s $7 Million Investment


Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of George Miller and Janet McKinley, local retirees, against Financial Advisor Samuel Schoner and First Republic Bank for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, elder abuse, and fraud.

For more than 25 years, Plaintiffs have generously given millions of dollars of their own savings to disadvantaged students and minorities—and they planned to continue doing.  However, according to the complaint filed by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, the Defendants failed to protect those savings and $7 million of scholarship money was wrongfully lost as a result of Defendants’ disregard and fraud. 

Joe Cotchett, a partner at the firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said:

“This case represents a tragic injustice—First Republic Bank and Sam Schoner dismissed Plaintiffs’ goals for giving in favor of lining their own pockets.”

Mr. Miller and Ms. McKinley allege that they trusted their First Republic Bank advisor, Schoner, to responsibly manage their life savings, much of which was for their scholarships and charitable foundations, including the George Miller Scholars program at UC Berkeley.  As alleged in the complaint, despite promises to diversify, Schoner invested $7 million of Plaintiffs’ savings in First Republic Preferred Stock.  Despite multiple requests by Mr. Miller to sell that stock, Schoner continued to hold it until after First Republic collapsed, and the stock was worth nothing. 

Tyson Redenbarger, another partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said:

“It is terrible that two giving people were taken advantage of in this way.  It is a tragedy to think that all of these potential scholarships were lost.”

Gia Jung, a lawyer at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said:

“As alleged in the complaint, it is outrageous that a bank and financial advisor would sell millions of their own stock to elderly clients at profit, ignore their requests to sell, and then do nothing to protect Plaintiffs while the bank collapsed around them.”

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