Fake financial adviser gets 4.5 years in prison for fraud

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What do you want to know

  • The defendant presented itself to the clients as an advisor specializing in retirement planning.
  • But the SEC says it was never registered.
  • In addition to prison, she was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $3.1 million in restitution.

A federal judge sentenced an unregistered financial adviser to 54 months in prison for defrauding several older clients out of more than $3 million, according to court documents.

In addition to 4.5 years in prison, Judge Manish S. Shah on June 1 sentenced Lucita Zamoras to two years of probation after serving her sentence and ordered her to pay restitution of $3.1 million and a special assessment of $100, due immediately.

“We are satisfied with [the] sentence Ms. Zamoras received,” Sami Azhari, the Chicago attorney representing her, told ThinkAdvisor via email Tuesday.

“Judge Shah was very thoughtful in his decision and considered his significant mitigation despite the government’s argument that he disregarded his gambling addiction,” Azhari added. “She is looking forward to rebuilding her life and doing whatever she can to contribute to her demand for restitution.”

Zamoras, who allegedly told investors she was a financial advisor specializing in retirement planning, said their funds would be invested in safe, low-risk investments, according to the criminal information filed against her by U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. on October 10, 2018, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Their money was instead used to pay for his gambling fees, personal expenses and to make Ponzi-like investments to previous investors, according to Lausch. Those other expenses included salary expenses, credit card payments, airline tickets, car payments and utilities, according to the information.

Despite his claims, Zamoras “has not been registered with” the Securities and Exchange Commission in any capacity, according to a previous complaint that the SEC filed against it in the same court on April 3, 2017.

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