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A former Pennsylvania monetary adviser who earned hundreds of thousands by pushing high-risk, high-fee investments on unsuspecting retirees has been sentenced to greater than 17 years in federal jail
SCRANTON, Pa. — A former Pennsylvania monetary adviser who earned hundreds of thousands by pushing high-risk, high-fee investments on unsuspecting retirees was sentenced Friday to greater than 17 years in federal jail.
A choose stated Anthony Diaz took benefit of dozens of shoppers, a few of whom misplaced their life financial savings or had been unable to ship their youngsters to school because of the fraud.
Diaz, who has been dwelling in Florida, was handcuffed within the courtroom and led away to instantly start serving his sentence.
Addressing the choose, Diaz portrayed himself because the sufferer of an overzealous, misguided prosecution and an unsophisticated jury made up of “blue-collar staff” who didn’t perceive securities.
“I believed within the merchandise I bought,” Diaz stated. “I didn’t create a scheme to deliberately harm individuals.”
U.S. District Choose Malachy Mannion referred to as Diaz an unrepentant con man who openly “lied by way of his enamel” to the jury, then repeated the lies in his assertion to the courtroom Friday.
The federal prosecution was extremely uncommon in that Diaz didn’t steal individuals’s nest eggs. Fairly, jurors had been informed, Diaz had unsuspecting prospects signal clean paperwork, then falsified their web value, earnings, funding expertise and threat tolerance to make it seem they met the suitability necessities of the merchandise.
The case illustrated how drawback brokers can bounce from agency to agency regardless of racking up client complaints and guidelines infractions. Diaz was affiliated with 11 funding corporations in 15 years, getting booted from 5 of them and resigning from one other earlier than Wall Avenue’s regulator lastly kicked him out of the securities business.
Former prospects testified that Diaz assured them excessive returns whereas failing to elucidate they may lose their cash or that it might be tied up for years.
Testifying in his personal protection, Diaz acknowledged paperwork errors however denied prison intent. He stated the investments he bought had been vetted and accredited by the brokerages he labored with, and insisted he totally defined the dangers to his shoppers.
The 11 shoppers whom Diaz was charged with defrauding misplaced as a lot as $3.5 million, in response to courtroom paperwork, however Mannion stated he had obtained sufferer influence statements from 30 individuals.
Diaz’s shoppers “had no actual understanding of investments,” Mannion stated.
The choose ordered Diaz to pay restitution, although it is unlikely his former shoppers will see any cash. The Monetary Trade Regulatory Authority had beforehand ordered Diaz to pay some $4 million in damages to 19 former shoppers, however the authorities’s sentencing memo stated Diaz had not repaid “a single dime” to his victims.
Bruce Kilby, a retired pharmaceutical firm employee who invested about $350,000 with Diaz, received a $220,000 arbitration award in opposition to him a number of years in the past however stated in courtroom Friday that Diaz as soon as informed him, “You’ll by no means get a penny.”
One other sufferer, Ana Alicia Plasencia, stated in courtroom that Diaz gained management of all of the UPS inventory that her husband had amassed over 34 years with the corporate, put the cash into various investments that her husband didn’t perceive, and misplaced all of it, making them destitute.
“The place is my cash, Mr. Diaz? The place is it? What did you do with it?” stated Plasencia, an actual property agent who turns 78 in a couple of days and stated she nonetheless has to work to make ends meet.
Plasencia added that her husband, Robert, was deeply depressed earlier than his 2017 demise.
“My husband died a damaged, very unhappy man,” she stated, sobbing.
This story has been corrected to point out that Plasencia’s first identify is Ana, not Ann.
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