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Tue Oct 1, 2019, 07:39 AM

Financial Adviser Charged In Multimillion-Dollar Ponzi Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging JAMES T. BOOTH with securities fraud, wire fraud, and investment adviser fraud charges in connection with his years-long scheme to defraud customers of his financial services firm, Booth Financial Associates (“Booth Financial”). Throughout the scheme, BOOTH solicited money from clients of Booth Financial and falsely promised to invest their money in securities offered outside of their ordinary advisory and brokerage accounts. Instead, BOOTH used nearly all of the money to pay personal and business expenses. In total, BOOTH fraudulently obtained nearly $5 million from his customers. BOOTH was arrested this morning in Norwalk, Connecticut, and will be presented this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox in Manhattan federal court.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, James Booth convinced his clients that he would deliver solid and secure returns on their investments. Instead, as alleged, Booth delivered only lies and deceit, and bilked some 40 clients of nearly $5 million. Booth is now in federal custody and will have to answer for his alleged crimes.”

Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh: “In an elaborate scheme of false promises and deception, it is alleged that Booth attained almost $5 million by luring investors to move their assets with the guarantee of safer investments and higher returns. Instead, Booth allegedly pocketed the money. HSI New York’s El Dorado Task Force has investigated financial fraud cases for more than two decades, and with the continued law enforcement partnerships in these cases, we are able to arrest alleged fraudsters who seek to take advantage of the hopes and dreams of others for their own illicit gain.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

From 2013 through 2019, BOOTH solicited money from clients of Booth Financial and falsely promised to invest their money in securities offered outside of their ordinary advisory and brokerage accounts. Specifically, BOOTH directed certain of his clients to write checks or wire money to an entity named “Insurance Trends, Inc.” Instead of investing his clients’ funds, BOOTH, who controlled the bank account of Insurance Trends, Inc., subsequently misappropriated his clients’ funds to pay his personal and business expenses.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/financial-adviser-charged-multimillion-dollar-ponzi-scheme

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