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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 9, 2021

Raleigh Investment Advisor’s 40 Year Sentence for Ponzi Scheme and Obstruction Affirmed on Appeal

RALEIGH, N.C. – Stephen Condon Peters, a former Raleigh investment advisor and owner of Visionquest Wealth Management, lost his appeal today in a per curiam opinion issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  The judgment against Peters, which included a 40-year prison sentence, $15,063,624.30 in restitution, and forfeiture of assets, was fully affirmed.

Acting United States Attorney G. Norman Acker, III stated, “For years now, the many victims of former investment advisor Stephen Peters have been holding their breath, waiting for any kind of news about the outcome of his appeal, so that they can move on with their lives.  Today I am pleased to report that the appeal is over.  There were no dissenting votes.  Stephen Peters will serve the 40 years imposed upon him.  With this result, this office can now resume its efforts to liquidate assets and return them to victims as quickly as possible.”

Peters was convicted on all charges against him in a week-long trial in 2019.  The evidence showed that Peters, in his role as a Registered Investment Advisor, defrauded his numerous clients by steering them into investments in which Peters had a direct financial interest.  He then compounded his crimes by attempting to defraud the SEC with false documents and statements.  At sentencing, the judge commented that Peters’s crimes were “breathtaking,” but were proven with a “tsunami of evidence.”  In issuing its 40-year sentence, the Court also noted that Peters “quadrupled down” on the crime by, among other things, perjuring himself at trial.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement following the issuance of the judgment and opinion by the appellate court.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation investigated the case.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan represented the United States on the appeal.   Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore served as the prosecutor.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris represented the United States with respect to forfeiture aspects of the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:17-cr-00411-D-1.

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Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Updated September 9, 2021