Landolt Securities Tony Liddell BARRED on $2 Million Fraud Allegations

Tony Liddle BARRED

Wausau investment agent and broker Tony Liddell has been barred from practicing after the emergence of information on public records about him not investing almost $2 million that his clients, more than a dozen in number, entrusted him with for investments. His firm was known as Prosper Wealth Management (PWM), and he was registered with Landolt Securities and Western International Securities (WIS).

Liddle, who has been an investment advisor and broker for over a decade in Wausau and Rhinelander, had formed an investment advisory firm of his own in May 2016, along with Allison, to whom he was married at the time. The firm was known as Prosper Wealth Management (PWM) and had an office in downtown Wausau which was opened in February 2017, as per the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Division of Securities (DFI). It offered retirement planning, financial planning services, investment advisement, and brokerage services.

Haselkorn & Thibaut is investigating Tony Liddell. Investors who invested with Mr. Liddell can reach us online or by calling toll-free at 1-800-856-3352 for a confidential consultation.

The PWM website, which is no longer operational, cited the company as the recipient of the 2016 Women Certified Women’s Choice award for Financial Advisors and Firms. 7 Investigates, currently investigating the affairs of the firm, has confirmed being told by a client that the award was one of the reasons for her to choose PWM for investments.

Liddle, earlier, had been working in Sarkauskas & Associates (S&A) for Brad Sarkauskas as a client services representative. At some point, he purchased a franchise location, along with assets of S&A, which went on to become PWM.

Sarkauskas is now supporting several of Liddle’s clients who entrusted their money with his firm for investments in their bid to get back the money believed to be stolen by Liddle.

He became involved when he received a call from the daughter of a former legal client, also a friend, who had invested with Liddle. “The daughter had expressed concerns that, that she thought there were irregularities, and asked me to take a look at some transactions and the account. Upon reviewing some, some basics, I also thought there were some irregularities, requested some more documentation, and immediately discovered what I believed to be the very obvious theft of $40,000.”

DFI order


In an order issued in June, after an audit of PWM and Liddle in May, DFI had specified the regularities uncovered and findings of the investigation. One of the cases highlighted was that of Liddle meeting with an 80-year-old lady in her home in June 2021 and recommended to her the purchase of L Bonds of GWG Holdings. The DFI order notes that he did not disclose to her that “GWG Holdings suspended L Bond sales in April 2021, two months prior to the date” he recommended their purchase. How he intended to carry out the transaction is anyone’s guess.

In any case, the discussion led to her writing a check for $40K with the expectation that the recommended Bonds would be purchased for her. The money, instead, went into a bank account controlled by Liddle.

According to DFI, Liddle continued the charade by sending the lady a statement that showed her funds in an account of GWG Holdings. He also told her that she would receive a monthly payout of $185. Which she did. However, it was not the result of the growth of her investment, but Liddle was paying it to her, in typical Ponzi fashion, from other funds generated in the interim.

Speaking about the determination of the scope of the conduct, Sarkauskas said, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and I guess that was always the concern that the minute this came up is ‘Oh boy, is this it? Is this it?’”

According to DFI, “loans” is how Liddle classified the money he started receiving from clients in 2020, including the 80-year-old lady whose case was mentioned earlier, when quizzed by the securities division investigators. He claimed to hold promissory notes proving that the loans existed. None of his clients, however, had been given a copy of the promissory note claimed by Liddell. The DFI order was updated later to indicate being told by his clients that they never authorized or gave any loans to Liddell.

The GWG Bond sale was not authorized by Landolt Securities (LS), with whom Liddell was associated as a registered broker at the time. In May 2022, after the DFI allegations surfaced, LS terminated their association with Liddell. He had joined them in April 2020.

The early June order issued by DFI listed three legal violations of Liddle:

  • Violation of Wis. Stat. §§ 551.412(4)(m) and Wis. Admin. Code DFI-Sec 5.06(6) through engagement in unethical or dishonest practices in the securities business
  • Discipline pursuant to Wis. Stat.§ 551.412(4)(m) on account of him borrowing money to the tune of $1.8 million from clients.
  • Violation of Wis. Stat. § 551.501(2), because of his failure to state necessary material facts related to the purchase or sale of a security in order to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading. This includes failing to inform MR (client) that GWG Holdings L Bond sales had been suspended in April 2021.

A permanent ban has been placed on Liddle from working with the investment industry and registering with the division. Liddle signed a form on the 7th of June waiving his right to a hearing about the findings and stating he would not contest the order.

FINRA investigation

A few days after the initial order issued by DFI, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which Congress has authorized to protect the American investor’s interest, attempted to conduct its own investigation into the case.

Apart from DFI findings, FINRA has documented Liddle’s refusal to testify, or produce information, as required by FINRA rules. On the condition that FINRA will bring no future action on the basis of these findings, a letter of acceptance of FINRA’s findings was filed by Liddell. While barring Liddell from any association with the self-regulating organization (SRO), the condition was accepted by FINRA.

Updated report of DFI

An updated report and order filed in September in the Marathon County Circuit Court by DFI listed 15 people as investors with Liddle between March 2019 and July 2021. Two of these were from Michigan and the other 13 from around Wisconsin. These 13 together invested over $1.9 million with Liddell. These funds were meant for investments without being limited to the purchase of L Bonds that offered a fixed rate payment of 5.5% to clients.

This updated order reaffirmed the pattern followed by Liddell stated in the earlier order, of using the “funds for personal and business expenses and to pay down debt” instead of investing it.

It goes on to describe the modus operandi of using some of the funds to pay clients back in a manner designed to lull “investors into believing that Liddle had invested their money as he had promised.” 9 of the 13 investors received an interest payment of approximately $256,000. The others did not receive a payment.

None of the investors interviewed by DFI had any recollection of either making a loan to PWM, or Liddle, or signing any promissory notes.

The updated order issued in September added two more violations to the three in the earlier list. The full list now reads:

  • “Through the conduct described above, the Respondents are subject to discipline for engaging in dishonest or unethical practices in the securities business in violation Wis. Stat.§ 551.412(4)(m).
  • As described above, Liddle violated Wis. Stat.§ 551.505 when he made or caused to be made in a record that is used in an action or proceeding or filed under this chapter, one or more statements that, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, were false, misleading in a material respect, or, in connection with the statements, omitted to state a material fact necessary to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not false or misleading.
  • Through the conduct described above, the Respondents violated Wis. Stat.§ 551.501(2), when they, in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of a security, directly or indirectly, omitted to state material facts necessary in order to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.
  • Through the conduct described above, the Respondents violated Wis. Stat.§ 551.501(3), when, in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of a security, they engaged in an act, practice or course of business that operated as a fraud or deceit upon another person.
  • Through the conduct described above, the Respondents employed a device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, and engaged in an act, practice, or course of business that operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon the investors identified in Table 1 in violation of Wis. Stat. Wis. §§ 551.502(1)(a) and 551.502(1)(b) by using investors’ money in a manner contrary to what they had represented, and for Liddle’s personal benefit.”

As he did on the earlier occasion, Liddell signed away his right to a hearing about the findings and contesting the order.

The investors

The September order of DFI identified 10 of the 13 investors as being aged 65 or more.

Helping clients understand what they need to create their ‘best life’ was a theme that found repeated mention on the PWM website, which has since been taken down. Under the ‘Why Choose Us’ section of the website, it stated: “We know the financial industry can be overwhelming. Planning your best life means seeking out the advice of a financial professional you can trust and will understand you.”

Talking about one client, Sarkauskas said, “One individual is, I believe, 73 years old. Her spouse died 10 years ago, about. She’s been retired for seven years, 73 years old, and she’s returned to work in a factory sewing, which she loves to do, but she likes to do it for pleasure. She’s doing it now so she doesn’t lose her home.”

In stark contrast, the Liddle’s enjoyed at least six vacations in 2021, according to their Public Facebook posts. According to the land and bankruptcy records, a home owned by them in Stettin sold for $725K in July.

There are other infractions on his record.

Run-ins with the police

The Wausau Police Department also got involved as Sarkauskas alleged that Liddle used his notary stamp on a few of the client financial documents, with his name misspelled. The handwriting of “Anthony Liddle” and “Bradley Sarkauskas” showed similarities in letters, as noted by the officer.

“At least one of those documents was filed with the Register of Deeds in Wisconsin, transferring a piece of property,” Sarkauskas explained. “And it was stamped with my notary; I did not sign it; I was not present at that.” Clients in possession of documents with this notary confirm this and say that Sarkauskas was not present at the signing, while Liddell was.

Wausau Police arrested Liddle in February for driving while intoxicated, with a concentration of blood alcohol almost double the permissible level. Witnesses reported him crashing into a light pole and sliding into a snow bank after leaving the scene. Officers responding to the accident noted his car being driven on the rims as the driver’s side tires were flat.

Liddell his wife, their finances, and divorce

The divorce petition filed by Liddell and his wife was finalized in September.

His then-wife informed the Marathon County dispatch on the 1st of June of Liddell’s strange behavior and apparent claims of being upset on account of their co-owned financial business.

She also estimated an amount of around $2 million to be missing. This has been noted in the Wausau Police report as well.

Liddle “admitted to embezzling from their business,” was stated by her as well as her informing Liddle of an impending audit.

Liddle told police that “he had a bunch of bad things going on in his life right now and he was having a rough time. Anthony explained he was upset over his marriage ending and he had not been doing right by his clients from his financial investment business.”

His by-then-ex-wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September, with Liddle following suit in November. The split left him with assets valued at about 15% of the assets owned by his ex-wife. Liddle claims 40% of his assets to be exempt.

The liabilities appear to be shared by them, according to their filings and include money received from Liddell’s ex-clients. His ex-wife lists all PWM-related debts as an “alleged personal liability claim for former spouse at Prosper Wealth Management.”

A settlement from a Milwaukee civil case from 2018 that the couple owed to Sarkauskas and his family in a settlement is included. This pertains to the 2012 sale of a part of their franchises and assets by Sarkauskas Enterprises and Sarkauskas family members associated with that business, to the Liddles and Sark Investments, their company. Eventually Sark Investments merged into the other company owned by the Liddles, Prosper Wealth Management.

Promissory notes had been signed by the couple for making monthly payments over a 9-year period. These were being made till October 2018. A suit was filed by the Sarkauskases a few weeks after the payments became due, claiming a violation of the sale agreements, triggering the acceleration provisions which meant that entire unpaid balance would need to be paid back. Eventually, the two sides settled the dispute.

Interestingly, while the wife included this debt in her bankruptcy filings, Liddell himself did not.

Total liabilities reported by Liddell amount to $3.3 million.

Regarding the over $1.6 million in restitution that Liddell has been ordered to pay his ex-clients, Sarkauskas has opined that it is unlikely that he would be able to pay off his debt. “I think Mr. Liddle is going to have serious issues to contend with, but I hope that things work out very well and he’s able to pay this money back and he has a bright future someday. But in the meantime, we have people who are struggling and, and, and risk losing their homes. So yeah, I hope he’s able to pay him back.”

Role of supervising entities

Brokerage firms are required to supervise the activities of their registered representatives. During the period when the 13 clients initially invested with him, Liddell was registered as a broker with two different firms.

Western International Securities (WIS)

Liddell was registered with WIS from 2012 through 2020. WIS did not respond to requests by 7 Investigates for an interview and comments. The information available through disclosures on FINRA records provide a record of 18 events, several of which pertain to supervisory rule violations. Some of the events relate to the period when Liddell was associated with the firm.

Landolt Securities

From April 2020 through May 2022, Liddell was registered under Landolt Securities (LS). He was allowed to resign by LS on account of the allegations against him. Though LS declined a request for an interview, its attorney Lloyd Schwed did provide responses to some questions over an email and issued a statement.

According to Schwed, “Tony Liddle never conducted any securities business through Landolt Securities,” such as selling stocks or bonds, even though as a registered agent he was authorized to sell approved securities. Schwed says that securities regulators in Wisconsin did not uncover any wrongdoing during their investigations of Liddle and PWM in 2020 and 2021.  At the same time, DFI noted that the findings of examinations could not be considered as public information.

Schwed also said that LS was compliant with all supervisory requirements of FINRA, including those pertaining to the maintenance of records. “He was not truthful” is how he opined on the answers Liddell provided when questioned by LS.

“Importantly, the Wisconsin securities regulators made no complaints regarding Landolt Securities’ supervision,” Schwed stated. The formal statement initially issued by Schwed reads: “Tony Liddle was an independent agent affiliated for a period of time with Landolt Securities, but he engaged in all of his wrongdoing through his separate and independent, family-owned company, Prosper Wealth Management.

Mr. Liddle concealed his improper activities from both Landolt Securities and Wisconsin state regulators, and Mr. Liddle has had no affiliation or connection to Landolt Securities since May 2022.”

Investor Loss Recovery

DFI has clarified in an email response to 7 Investigates that an investigation regarding LS is open with them. While FINRA has clarified that it does not comment on arbitration proceedings or investigations, Sarkauskas’ Heritage Law Office is believed to be exploring ways for the 16 people it represents to get compensation. Halling & Cayo, S.C. has also stated that they have initiated a FINRA arbitration proceeding against LS.

Deborah Fabritz, DFI’s director of professional registration and compliance bureau under the Division of Securities, said that as far as they know, the only ones who expected to have their money invested on their behalf and who believe having been wronged are the 13 named in the order. If there are others so victimized, they should contact their office.

Liddle, who was also registered as an insurance agent, has had his license suspended by The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance based on the DFI allegations. A hearing is pending in the investigation, which is ongoing.

The numerous law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels that 7 Investigates reached out to for comments, including the FBI, have neither denied nor confirmed the existence of an investigation. Some said that their investigation findings had been sent to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations.

Haselkorn & Thibaut is investigating Tony Liddell. Investors who invested with Mr. Liddell can reach us online or by calling toll-free at 1-800-856-3352 for a confidential consultation.



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