Boston-Area Investment Adviser Sentenced for Fraud
BOSTON – A Boston-area investment adviser was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for using his clients’ funds to make his own investments and to pay personal expenses.
Cornelius Peterson, 29, of Newton, was senteced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 20 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $462,000. Peterson previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and investment adviser fraud and three counts of bank fraud. Co-defendant James Polese, 51, of Wenham, pleaded guilty in April 2018 to one count of conspiracy and investment adviser fraud, eight counts of bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 2, 2018.
From approximately 2014 to June 2017, Polese and Peterson misappropriated approximately half a million dollars from their clients by transferring funds out of their clients’ accounts without their knowledge or consent. Specifically, on Aug. 20, 2014, Polese and Peterson used $100,000 from a client’s account to invest in a wind farm project despite the fact that it was not an investment opportunity authorized by their company. On May 15, 2015, Polese and Peterson used $400,000 from another client’s account to back a letter of credit in support of the wind farm project. On multiple occasions in 2017, Polese transferred funds from a client’s account to pay personal expenses, including college tuition payments and credit card bills. Polese and Peterson were terminated from the company in June 2017.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission also provided valuable assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Miron Bloom of Lelling’s Economic Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.