News and Press Releases

Former Atlanta Investment Advisor Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $2.5 Million from Clients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2013

ATLANTA – Benjamin Daniel DeHaan has been sentenced on charges arising out of a scheme to defraud more than 50 clients. 

“This defendant may have started out as a legitimate investment advisor, but he got greedy and began stealing from those who trusted him with their investments,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “He diverted money from his clients’ accounts and used it to fund a lavish lifestyle. Now he is headed to prison and will never work in the securities industry again.”

Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The level of greed and disregard for his clients earns this defendant a place in prison.  While the FBI will continue to go after such individuals for investor related fraud, the damage to those investing is already done and all that is often left is the solace provided by a stiff prison sentence.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  DeHaan owned and operated Lighthouse Financial Partners, LLC, an investment advisory service in Atlanta, Ga.  He recruited investors by posting a series of videos on Lighthouse’s website and on YouTube.  DeHaan told investors that he had developed a proprietary software program that allowed him to determine when to buy and when to sell a particular stock.  Approximately 114 people entrusted him with money to invest on their behalf.  At its peak, Lighthouse had approximately $6.7 million in assets under management.

From January 2010 through May 2012, DeHaan misappropriated and converted to his own use more than $2.5 million of his clients’ money.  He used the fraud proceeds to purchase a new house for himself in Memphis, Tenn., and to purchase partial ownership of a restaurant and bar in Memphis.  DeHaan also used his clients’ money to fund an investment account in his own name and to pay Lighthouse’s overhead and operating expenses.  He attempted to cover-up his theft by emailing fraudulent account statements to investors.  This provided victims a false sense of security and delayed their complaints to law enforcement.

Benjamin Daniel DeHaan, 37, of Decatur, Ga., was sentenced by United States District Judge Steve C. Jones to seven years and three months in federal prison, and was remanded immediately to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.  He will serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, and was ordered to pay $6,931,619.13 in restitution to the victims.  On February 1, 2013, DeHaan pleaded guilty to a Criminal Information charging him with wire fraud.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Russell Phillips prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

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