A Louisiana investment advisor was sentenced to 14 years in a federal prison on Nov. 13 for stealing as much as $1.5 million dollars from his clients. The 71-year-old Mandeville resident was also ordered to forfeit $1.1 million and pay his investors back another $1.1 million. Should the man live long enough to complete his sentence, he will be required to serve three years of supervised release. Reports indicate that the man was sentenced as part of a plea agreement he entered into with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.
The man admitted to prosecutors that he defrauded his mainly elderly clientele out of more than a million dollars over a three year period that began in 2013. He is said to have told his clients that he was putting their money into extremely safe insurance and securities investments, but he really spent the money supporting his lavish lifestyle and making good on promises made to individuals who had already invested and were becoming impatient.
Prosecutors say that the man spent his investors' money on expensive jewelry, luxury hotel stays and meals at gourmet restaurants. He also used the funds to invest in a risky real estate deal and to cover personal expenses including his rent and credit card bills, according to court documents. In addition, he failed to tell his investors that he had been stripped of his status as a broker and barred from dealing with firms that sell securities in 2015 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Criminal defense attorneys with experience in cases involving white-collar crimes may advise their clients to seek plea agreements when the evidence against them is substantial and convincing. Prosecutors are often reluctant to take their chances with a jury even when their cases are strong, and they may be willing to reduce the penalties for embezzlement or fraud significantly in return for a swift outcome.