Former Investment Adviser Sentenced to Five Years for Defrauding his Clients of More than $7 Million
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Lee D. Weiss, 51, of Roslyn, NY, and Newton, MA, was sentenced today to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $7.5 million in restitution and a $250,000 fine for his conviction of investment adviser fraud. The charges arose from Weiss’ multi-year investment scam that targeted his own clients and caused investor losses of more than $7 million.
In March 2022, the defendant pleaded guilty to investment adviser fraud in connection with this scheme to defraud his clients. Weiss was the principal of Family Endowment Partners, LP, an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which had an office in West Chester, PA, before it was closed by order of the SEC. The defendant used his position to fleece his own clients of millions of dollars through purported investments in a now-defunct Florida tobacco company and a series of private securities offerings. Weiss told his clients that their money would be used for investment purposes when, in fact, he diverted it to make Ponzi payments and to fund his lifestyle, and further told his clients that they were making money when their funds had already been misappropriated. Weiss continued to lie to them about the value of their investments to prevent them from learning of his thefts and to convince them to continue paying him fees for “managing” their money.
“Honesty, integrity, and trust all play a critical role in the relationship between a financial advisor and a client; when the advisor corrupts that relationship, the damage done to the financial security of the client can be catastrophic,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “The end result is as devastating and traumatic as if the victim had been robbed at gunpoint, and therefore we take it just as seriously. We will continue to hold accountable those who, like Mr. Weiss, commit life-shattering financial crimes.”
“Lee Weiss’s clients expected him to invest their money responsibly and he had a fiduciary duty to do so. Instead, he misappropriated millions for his and his company’s purposes,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He used their funds for everything from car payments, to country club fees, to payouts to previous investors. Justice demands that financial fraudsters like Weiss be held accountable for their crimes and today’s sentencing ensures that.”
“The Postal Inspection Service has a long history of investigating investment frauds,” said Damon Wood, Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the Postal Inspection Service. “Today, Lee Weiss was sentenced for stealing millions of dollars from his clients, clients who had trusted him to invest their money in safe, blue-chip investments. Through a web of corporate entities, Mr. Weiss hid the reality of his investment strategy and his failing business and stole his clients’ money to cover his own losses and continue living well. Thanks to the hard work of the Postal Inspectors, special agents from the FBI and the Assistant United States Attorneys, Mr. Weiss has been held accountable for his deceitful practices.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Shapiro and Nancy E. Potts. The U.S. Attorney’s Office appreciates the substantial assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in this matter.