Former Edward Jones Representative Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud
The Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Monica J. Lindeen, and the United States Attorney, Michael W. Cotter, announced that during a federal court session in Missoula on March 1, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, ANNE MARIE SCHLENKER, a 30-year-old resident of Bozeman, was arraigned and pled guilty to wire fraud. Sentencing is set for June 16, 2011. She is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Archer, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
ANNE MARIE SCHLENKER was a financial adviser representative and salesperson for Edward Jones and Company in Bozeman, Montana, from May 31, 2004, until her fraud was discovered in February 2010. SCHLENKER used her position at Edward Jones to misappropriate $329,682.15 of client money for her own personal use from October 18, 2006 to November 16, 2009. SCHLENKER made misrepresentations to clients to have funds wired from her clients' accounts to her own personal accounts at Wells Fargo, First Horizon, Suntrust, and Citifinancial. SCHLENKER made misrepresentations to have over $50,000 wired from a client's account to pay for upgrades to a house she was building. Aside from her personal accounts, SCHLENKER also had $11,485.00 wired from a client's account to a jewelry business in Bozeman, Montana, to pay off her jewelry debt. At the time, this client was a 72 year old retiree. Additionally, SCHLENKER made misrepresentations to have funds moved from one client's account to pay back another client from whom SCHLENKER had taken money. The total amount returned was $63,862.21, which results in a total fraud loss of $265,819.94.
SCHLENKER ultimately confessed to Edward Jones that she took money from client accounts via unauthorized transactions. Edward Jones terminated her on February 18, 2010.
SCHLENKER faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
In November, Edward Jones entered into a settlement agreement with Lindeen's Office in which it agreed to pay $349,464.92 in restitution to Schlenker's victims, pay a fine of $100,000, and make specific changes to its books and records retention policies and procedures.
Our office works hard every day to protect investors and to ensure victims are made whole if their registered stock broker violates the law," said Lindeen. "Ms. Schlenker's guilty plea today is the result of an outstanding collaborative effort of two agencies to use all the tools available, at both the state and federal level, to stop investor harm and discipline brokers who engage in or allow fraud."
Cotter announces that "The result in this case was made possible through the concerted efforts of the Securities and Insurance Commissioner's Office and federal law enforcement authorities. The U.S. Attorney's Office and Commissioner Monica Lindeen have joined forces to combat fraud across the state to ensure the financial safety of the citizens of this state. Our two offices will continue to work together in order to coordinate the prosecution of securities, financial and investment frauds throughout Montana as was done in this case."
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a cooperative effort between the Securities and Insurance Commissioner's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Amy Finnegan at (406) 247-4621.