Former independent financial advisor Michael D. Leamnson, 56, of Roanoke, Va., bilked clients out of nearly $1 million dollars with the promise of high investment returns. He was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg on fraud charges.
In October Leamnson waived his right to be indicted and pled guilty to a two-count Information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Tuesdays morning in District Court, Leamnson was sentenced to 40 months in Federal prison.
“In perpetrating his long-running Ponzi scheme, Mr. Leamnson stole money from his elderly clients and deprived many of their life savings,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Leamnson falsely promised high investment returns, then used client funds for his personal benefit. This case shows our continuing commitment to prosecute investor fraud, particularly when such fraud targets vulnerable victims like our seniors. We will also continue to do what we can to warn our communities about fraud and encourage due diligence when evaluating investment opportunities.”
Leamnson previously admitted that he recruited investors for his company, Capital Creation. The defendant promised these “investors,” many of whom were senior citizens, that he would invest their money in safe and accessible investments. Leamnson told investors they could access their principle “on demand,” plus interest.
However, Leamnson admitted that instead of using funds for safe investments, he instead simply deposited investor money into a general checking account which he used for personal expenses and outside business interests, including a small concrete company and a school fundraising business. The defendant also used investors funds to cover “interest” payments owed to existing customers. All told, Leamnson defrauded his investors out of nearly $1 million.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secrete Service, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Cullen and Daniel Bubar will prosecute the case for the United States.