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Illinois Financial Advisor Gets 54 Months In Prison For $3M Scam

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A previous suburban Chicago monetary advisor has been sentenced to 4½ yrs in prison for scamming about 15 elderly shoppers out of far more than $3 million and working with the dollars to feed her gambling behaviors and to make Ponzi payments, in accordance to the sentencing doc obtained from the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace Northern District of Illinois.&#13

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All through the sentencing, which was performed by means of videoconference final week, Lucita Zamoras, 58, of Niles, Ill., also was ordered by U.S. District Decide Manish Shah to shell out restitution of $3.14 million, the amount stolen.&#13

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The Securities and Exchange Fee in April 2017 had filed a complaint alleging that Zamoras solicited buyers for a promissory observe software and subsequently misappropriated their funds, beginning in 2009. The SEC stated the plan encouraged buyers to transfer their 401(k)s, which experienced been invested in stable, curiosity-bearing annuities, to self-directed IRA accounts and order promissory notes issued by her. She promised 3.5% to 5% once-a-year interest on the notes. But Zamoras never ever invested her clients’ money, the SEC alleged.

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In October 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Business in Chicago filed a parallel legal case versus Zamoras, charging her with a single count of mail fraud for swindling the elderly clientele out of their retirement savings. The court docket document famous that Zamoras continued the fraud scheme by using the victims’ funds primarily based on fake representations, and by earning wrong promises to repay investors, even although she was conscious that the SEC was investigating her felony conduct. She pleaded responsible in May well 2019.

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Questioned why it took 3 years for Zamoras to be sentenced, Assistant U.S. Legal professional Joseph D. Fitzpatrick for the Northern District of Illinois responded in email, “Which is not anything we remark on, so I will drop to remark.”

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Zamoras, the court docket doc said, claimed to be a economical advisor who specialised in retirement organizing. She owned and operated a number of providers in Niles, Unwell., together with Initial Fidelity Economical Team, LLC JQH Ventures, LLC and Cornerstone Property Alternatives. Zamoras provided economic solutions and purported investment decision chances via her businesses, none of which ended up registered with the SEC. Her offerings integrated delivering monetary tips, retirement and estate scheduling, tax planning, the sale of financial items these as everyday living coverage and annuities, and purported true estate financial commitment prospects, the court explained.

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The courtroom doc stated from 2009 as a result of 2018, Zamoras, who labored as an insurance agent, defrauded traders by obtaining their cash and property “by implies of materially wrong and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and guarantees, and by signifies of content omissions.”

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The Philippine indigenous focused Filipino immigrants, primarily older gals who ended up retired or about to retire. They reliable her since she was a part of their group and she informed them she was a financial advisor, the court docket mentioned. She lied to them about the threats associated, claiming that she would commit their resources in harmless, safe, very long-time period, reduced threat investments, and that they would not shed their price savings, the courtroom claimed.

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“Zamoras understood that the safety of these funds was of large value to the victims because most of the victims ended up investing their retirement savings or their life’s savings,” the courtroom stated. It famous that Zamoras was specifically instructed by numerous of the traders, 9 of whom were in their seventies, that they had been offering her their daily life financial savings, which they experienced worked for years to get paid.

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The amount of money she swindled from trader totaled about $3,919,692.29, and she manufactured payments of about $778,199.67, the files claimed. The reduction to the victims therefore totaled about $3,141,492.62, the court said, noting that most of the money paid out to victims came from other victims, even while Zamoras claimed all those payments were being curiosity payments or revenue earned through investments.