A former stockbroker recently went to trial after he pleaded not guilty to a number of serious charges. Charges for mail and wire fraud are just two of the 11 criminal counts. Investors in a state bordering New York say they suffered significant losses because of the broker's actions, which is sadly not an uncommon outcome of securities fraud.

The defendant worked in the securities industry for 15 years, during which time he was frequently considered one of the top brokers in the United States. Despite this reputation, he was fired on five different occasions. At no point was he forbidden from working in the industry.

During his career, he reportedly pushed his clients into making high-risk alternative investments, but sold them investments where they could not lose and would see guaranteed returns. However, investors have to meet specific requirements set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission -- the SEC -- before they can make alternative investments, which are usually only for sophisticated, wealthy investors. To get around this problem, he would present his clients with blank documents for them to sign. He would then falsify their income, net worth, risk tolerance and investment experience.

The ex-broker targeted specific clients, exclusively pushing alternative investments on investors who were either close to retiring or who were already enjoying their retirements. Many say they lost all of their life savings. This is just one way in which securities fraud can devastate New York investors, leaving them in precarious financial positions. For these individuals, securing compensation through legal claims might help recover some of those losses.

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