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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ismail Elmas, 49, of Vienna, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to defrauding more than 10 of his investment advisory clients—many of whom were seniors and widows—of more than $1 million in funds they entrusted to him to invest on their behalf.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.
Elmas was charged by criminal information on October 21, 2014, on wire fraud charges. Elmas faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on January 16, 2015. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Elmas admitted to having worked as an investment adviser at Apple Financial Services (AFS), an affiliate of Apple Federal Credit Union (AFCU), during the time of his offense. Elmas also was registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as an investment adviser. In addition, he owned and operated a bank account in the name of “I.E. Financial Solutions.” From at least 2012 through in or around August 2014, Elmas misappropriated client funds given to him for legitimate investments in his capacity as an investment adviser, and he used those funds for his own purposes by way of his I.E. Financial Solutions bank account at NFCU. Elmas misappropriated these client funds in different ways. For example, he materially withheld the fact that I.E. Financial Solutions was his own bank account, never telling his clients that they were giving their money to his own purported investment vehicle. In other instances, Elmas falsely described I.E. Financial Solutions to clients as a particular investment vehicle (e.g., a Certificate of Deposit or a Real Estate Investment Trust). And for other clients, Elmas simply transferred the funds to his I.E. Financial Solutions account without providing truthful disclosures about the use and disposition of the funds. As a result of Elmas’ scheme, more than 10 victims lost more than $1 million but less than $7 million.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Golder is prosecuting the case.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-328.