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Press Release

Raleigh Investment Advisor Sentenced to 40 Years for Orchestrating Ponzi Scheme, Obstructing the SEC, and Committing Aggravated Identity Theft

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

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in the United States District Court in Raleigh, Judge James C. Dever III sentenced STEPHEN CONDON PETERS, 45, of Raleigh, North Carolina, to serve a total term of 40 years in federal prison on charges of Investment Advisor Fraud, Fraud in the Sale of Unregistered Securities, Wire Fraud, Conducting Monetary Transactions in Criminally Derived Property, and Aggravated Identity Theft.  The court also ordered that Peters make restitution in the amount of $15,063,624.30 to his numerous victims.  The court also ordered forfeiture as part of the sentence.

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. stated, “With what is effectively a life sentence for Mr. Peters, the Court in this case gave a clear message: Investment advisors who steal their client’s money with lies, and use it to fund their own greed, will pay for their crimes in decades -- not days, months or years.  This office will continue its mission to protect the elderly and others who place their trust in financial professionals.”

"Stephen Peters will spend the next 40 years right where he belongs, behind bars.  Peters cheated hundreds of hardworking people out of their life savings so he could fund his own lavish lifestyle.  This is a case about greed and abuse of trust.  The FBI will continue to work with our partners to ensure this kind of malicious behavior is investigated and those guilty offenders are held accountable,” said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.

At trial and through the sentencing process, 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.  According to the Court, 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, perjurying himself at trial.

In addition to its order of restitution, the Court gave potential victims an additional 45 days in which to lodge claims of restitution that were not previously known to the Government.  If you feel that you may have been a victim of this offense, and have not already responded to the Government’s requests for information, please contact the FBI or the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the United States.

Updated September 16, 2019

Financial Fraud