Dennis Hopper was unavailable for comment.

From the Wall Street Journal this morning…

State Accuses Ameriprise of Forgery

By JENNIFER LEVITZ
October 23, 2007; Page C3

The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation filed an administrative complaint against Ameriprise Financial Inc., accusing the company of forgery, document tampering, and of failing to deliver nearly 500 financial plans to customers that paid for them.

Mark Connolly, director of securities regulation, is seeking a fine of $10 million in the administrative proceeding in Concord, N.H. In a statement, an Ameriprise spokesman said, “We strongly disagree with the New Hampshire regulator’s characterization of our business practices…as a broad-based compliance problem.”

The financial-advisory company said “because of the inflammatory and sweeping nature of these misleading allegations, we feel we have no choice but to defend ourselves in a legal forum.”

The state accused Ameriprise of “forging clients’ signatures on certain forms” to make it seem that undelivered financial plans had been delivered. Regulators say Ameriprise advisers did this “to make their sales numbers look higher.” The Minneapolis company is known for its low-cost financial plan that is delivered to clients in book form.

Regulators in Alabama and Massachusetts have also said they are investigating Ameriprise over alleged missing plans.

Many of the incidents alleged by New Hampshire occurred before American Express Co.’s spinoff of Ameriprise two years ago. In 2005, when it was part of American Express, the company agreed to pay $7.4 million to resolve allegations from New Hampshire that it steered clients into the company’s own lackluster mutual funds instead of better-performing products from others.

As a result of the 2005 action, Ameriprise had been under heightened supervision in New Hampshire and was ordered to divulge any problems with sales practices and procedures. Mr. Connolly says Ameriprise failed to do so.

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