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Press Release

Bakersfield CPA Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $350,000 from Investors

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Jeffrey Todd Stewart, 57, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in relation to him stealing $355,000 from investors, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Stewart was employed as a certified public accountant in Bakersfield. Between September 2014 and June 2018, Stewart solicited and received over $2 million from investors to pay fees and expenses purportedly needed for an overseas business deal. Stewart represented to the investors that their investments were being used for the deal and promised significant returns. Although Stewart used most of the money for the purported deal, he spent $355,000 of the money obtained from the investors on his own personal expenses, including mortgage payments, trips to Las Vegas, and gambling.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Barton and Brittany Gunter are prosecuting the case.

Stewart is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Aug. 21, 2023. Stewart faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated April 10, 2023

Financial Fraud