Former Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Stealing Over $1 Million from Clients
Defendant Admits Embezzling Funds from Four Athletes, Using Money for Own Personal Benefit
WASHINGTON – A former financial advisor, who provided services and investment advice to current and former professional athletes, pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from the theft of more than $1 million from his clients, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Andrew Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Brian J. Ourand, 55, now of Chicago, admitted stealing from four athletes, including boxing champion Mike Tyson and former National Basketball Association All-Star Glen Rice. At the time of the offenses, Ourand was an executive for a Washington, D.C.-based company.
Ourand pled guilty to a charge of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Ourand faces a likely range of 33 to 41 months in prison and a potential fine. The plea agreement calls for him to pay $1,002,390 in restitution and an identical amount as a forfeiture money judgment. Ourand is to be sentenced on May 2, 2017, by the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan.
In his plea, Ourand admitted that he embezzled the funds through various means, including numerous fraudulent checks that he made payable in his own name and to cash, which he later deposited into his personal accounts. Ourand also admitted to stealing his clients’ money for the benefit of others, including his girlfriend and another individual identified in court documents as “Person B”. In one such instance, Ourand obtained a cashier’s check using funds from the bank account of Mr. Rice in the amount of $10,000 in order to pay the registration fee of “Person B” to participate in the 2009 World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. Ourand also used client funds to send numerous wire transfers to his girlfriend and “Person B” via Western Union, at least some of which money was used to pay off Ourand’s gambling debts.
“Financial advisor Brian Ourand violated the trust of clients who depended upon him to protect their investments, using over $1 million of their hard-earned money for his own personal purposes,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “Thanks to law enforcement, his fraudulent conduct came to light and he is being held accountable for the money that he stole.”
“Today, Mr. Ourand admitted his participation in an embezzlement scheme intended to defraud investors,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “The FBI is committed to protecting the public from investment fraud and other deceptive scams, and will vigorously investigate those who criminally abuse their positions of trust for their own personal gain.”
According to a statement of offense submitted as part of the plea, the criminal activities began as early as 2006 and continued through July 2011. Ourand’s employer, identified in court documents as “Company A,” terminated his employment in August of 2011, after the scheme was uncovered. The company reimbursed the athletes for their losses.
In his work for the firm, Ourand and the company provided advisory and financial management services to high net-worth individuals, most of whom were current or former professional athletes. For example, Ourand and the company paid invoices and bills, coordinated tax preparation, and provided estate planning on behalf of clients. In that capacity, Ourand managed his clients’ personal and business bank accounts and credit cards, among other financial-related services.
The criminal charges involve Ourand’s work for Mr. Tyson, Mr. Rice, and two other athletes, identified in court documents as “Athlete C” and “Athlete D.” As part of the plea agreement, Ourand agreed that he abused a position of trust in committing the offense.
According to the statement of offense, Ourand deposited nearly 100 checks, drawn on the accounts of the four athletes, into a personal bank account, even though he was not authorized to do so. He also initiated numerous wire transfers, drawn on the bank accounts of Mr. Tyson, Mr. Rice and “Athlete C,” for which he had no authorization. As part of his scheme, Ourand also made numerous unauthorized ATM withdrawals and debit card transactions using funds belonging to Mr. Tyson, and obtained credit cards in his own name on the accounts of Mr. Rice and a foundation formed by “Athlete C,” which Ourand used to make unauthorized purchases.
Ourand sought to conceal his activities by generating documentation falsely claiming the money was used for business-related or otherwise authorized expenses, such as “personal expenses” for the client. His actions caused $546,168 in losses for Mr. Rice; $265,124 for Mr. Tyson; $182,957 for “Athlete C,” and $8,141 for “Athlete D.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission previously announced charges against Ourand, who was later found by an administrative law judge to have misappropriated funds from client accounts in violation of securities laws. In an initial decision issued in March 2016, the SEC ordered Ourand to pay disgorgement of $671,367 plus prejudgment interest and a $300,000 penalty, and he was barred from the securities industry.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Assistant Director in Charge Vale commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who are working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Arvind K. Lal, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section; Assistant U.S. Attorney Vesna Harasic-Yaksic, also of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section; Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Tasha Harris; and former Paralegal Specialists Heather Sales and Angela Lawrence.
Finally, they commended the work of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Last and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter C. Lallas, who are prosecuting the case.