The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation has accused Ameriprise Financial of breaking state securities laws, forging and tampering with documents, the state's second action against the company in as many years.

The state said Ameriprise could face penalties and client restitution of up to $10 million.

"What we've found is an unprecedented and widespread compliance failure on a number of levels within the company as well as an unprofessional workplace environment and attitude that would do little to inspire the trust and confidence of New Hampshire investors, said bureau director Mark Connolly.

"This conduct was the direct result of an Ameriprise sales culture more concerned with sales commissions than compliance," he said. "Regulators cannot tolerate such blatant disregard for investors."

The complaint alleges that the brokerage company failed to deliver nearly 500 financial plans, conducted unapproved sales contests and intentionally limited compliance oversight.

Additionally, the Minneapolis-based brokerage company was accused of failing to adequately release all fraudulent activities to the state of New Hampshire while it was under supervision by the state and by an independent consultant in 2005.

In 2005 the company, formerly known as American Express Financial Advisors, settled with the state for $7.4 million on charges related to illegal incentives, conflicts of interest and lack of disclosure to clients.

In the earlier case, the state found a pervasive effort within the company to press its financial advisors to sell "one size fits all" investment plans that were heavily laden with underperforming American Express mutual funds.

The state now charges that the company failed to deliver nearly 500 financial plans, enaged in forgery, document tempering and other illegal activities. The company also allegedly concealed evidence of fraudulent activities from investigators.

By law, financial advisory have a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of their clients, tailoring each individual's financial plan based on factors such as the client's age, income and risk tolerance.