Business Ethics Gone Awry! Certified Financial Planner Indicted – White Collar Crime Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments


Wonder what Jennifer Wilkov was thinking? Was she thinking about breaking free from American Express Financial Advisors, with whom she was employeed in the Advanced Advisor Group? Was she captivated by the money she needed to open Evolutionary Strategic Planning – the company she founded when she left American Express? Was it the need for money to promote her books – “The Loved Ones Kit, Dating Your Money, or Dating Your Money for Couples?”

What ever her thoughts, after pleading guilty to participating in a $1.6 million Real Estate Fraud scheme – my guess is, as she spends time in prison, she’ll have time to ponder what took her from a promising career to becoming a convicted felon and, likely, losing it all.

The Story: Carla Zimbalist, Beverly Hills, CA and Pam Chanla, Alhambra, CA were sole partners in CPM Holdings, Inc., PMC Interests, Inc., and Scott Avenue Development, Inc. Seems that these two found investors through Jennifer Wilkov – former financial advisor at American Express Financial Advisors. Through her position with American Express she solicited clients for Zimbalist and Chanla.

For her efforts Wilkov received more than $140,000 in commissions and consulting fees. I imagine at the time that the extra commission was welcome and helped to fund her needs as she pulled away from American Express to venture out on her own.

On the other hand, Zimbalist and Chanla used the funds fraudulently obtained to pay for personal expenses and civil judgments that had been entered against them for similar thefts from California victims. Seems they told investors that they would use the funds to purchase and renovate Southern California residential properties when, in fact, they never owned most of the properties in question.

The Outcome: Wilkov, Zimbalist and Chanla were charged by the Grand Jury with Scheme to defraud in the first degree, and multiple counts of securities fraud. Zimbalist and Chanla could receive up to 15 years in prison – while Wilkov faces 4 years.

Where From Here?

Well, having plead guilty, the likely outcome for all will be prison. As it appears that the charges were brought by the state, that would mean state prison … and for most that is worse than federal prison.

Wilkov most surely has lost her securities license, her certification as a financial advisor and her credibility – which would sell her books. Her life as she once knew it is over. I know, as I’ve been exactly where she is now and I can say from personal experience it is a humbling experience to be stripped of all that you’ve worked for – reduced to the reality of who you are. This experience will define her. The choice she now makes will have a profound impact on her for the rest of her life.

Chuck Gallagher, Ethics Speaker

Every choice has a consequence. As a White Collar Crime Keynote Speaker, ( I share the first hand experience of making bad choices. From successful tax partner in a CPA firm to inmate in federal prison, I know what Wilkov is facing now and in the future. Some call it “Club Fed” – speaking on the incarceration experience of white collar criminals. Let me state – it is no “Club” – it is fed…federal prison that is and it’s no fun.

However, the choices Wilkov makes today will create the outcomes she’ll experience in the future. Even though I am a convicted felon I still serve as a Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for a public company. At a low point in my life I was told something that has been profound: You may make a mistake; you are not a mistake. Since the lessons of incarceration I have founded a non-profit foundation called the Choices Foundation. Through that I speak to youth and young adults about the choices they make – I speak about the Truth About Consequences.

Perhaps Wilkov can find her truth and use the unpleasant experience she will no doubt face to help others in the future.

Business ethics speaker, Chuck Gallagher, signing off…


6 Responses to Business Ethics Gone Awry! Certified Financial Planner Indicted – White Collar Crime Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments

  1. A. Friend says:

    Dear Chuck,

    What Jennifer did was get taken advantage of by two very slick theives. From what I can gather she is most guilty of not doing reasonable due diligence. Comparing your experiences and WHAT YOU DID to WHAT HAPPENED TO Jennifer is like comparing a neighborly arguement about the location of a fence to the situation in Gaza. If she was truly a theif and not an innocent why wouldn’t she simply have taken ALL the money? Kindly clarify your comments or remove your article. This girl has suffered (and is suffering in Rikers at present) enough without you attempting to capitalize on her misfortune.

    A. Friend

  2. Rick says:

    If you had any intelligence, you would be able to figure out that Jennifer was not guilty. It is obvious that you need to take more time to try to think about what really happened.

    Jennifer took a plea bargain to avoid a much bigger sentence. I do not know why she did this. I assume it was at the advice of a piss poor lawyer.

    Nobody in the position that she was in would participate in such a con. The 2 con artists knew they would eventually get caught. They took the money and spent it.

    All Jennifer got out of it was commisions. She lost most of her money on it, as she was an investor. Her clients probably sued her. She got jail time.

  3. Barbara R says:

    Chuck, it sounds like you deceived people yourself. So is this what makes you an expert on what Jennifer was thinking? IF she was knowningly offering up clients to these two vultures, she would NOT have put her own money in. Don’t you think?

  4. Barbara R…

    I did deceive people. I am not proud of that, but it is the truth. Now some 25 years later and a lot of studying of what happens and why…I have become an expert in fraud prevention.

    My questions related to Jennifer were to spur thinking. I don’t know Jennifer or what she was thinking, but I do know that time in prison will provide an incredible environment through which one can so much self evaluation.

    Perhaps the larger question to all who have commented is – if Jennifer were innocent, why did she plead guilty? Yea…I know the p poor lawyer argument, but is it possible that Jennifer (while not a crook or con) did get caught up in something that was illegal and/or wrong and is now suffering the consequences?

    If anything…that is the lesson. Anyone can be led astray and find themselves on the wrong side of the law. It really is quite easy…to start out honest and through a series of choices end up dishonest and facing time in prison. Afterall…every choice does have a consequence.

  5. Leonard says:

    Chuck, the problem with the society (or one of the major problems) is simply: no one believes that there are inevitable consequences to every thing we do! This fact has been part of the lost tribal knowledge of our former generations. Our politicans are the most visible exemplars of that mindset.

  6. Bookkeeping Small Business…

    Business Ethics Gone Awry! Certified Financial Planner Indicted – White Collar Crime Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments « Motivational Speaker – Chuck Gallagher Business Ethics and Choices Expert…

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