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Securities watchdog, New York broker face off over scheme to profit from terminally ill

Published on Aug 26, 2014 4:28 AM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A New York broker went on trial on Monday over a US securities regulator's claims he participated in a scheme designed by a Morgan Stanley employee to profit from the death of terminally ill patients through variable annuity sales.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) called its first witnesses in an administrative proceeding in New York against Moshe Marc Cohen, a former Woodbury Financial Services broker who the agency said deceived the firm to obtain approval to sell the annuities.

Variable annuities are investment vehicles designed to help retirees maintain a source of income, with insurers typically agreeing to make periodic payments to purchasers.

The annuities also include a death benefit, in which insurers pay the policyholder's beneficiary under certain conditions.

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