Former Investment Adviser Pleas Guilty To Fraud
BOSTON – A Foxboro man was convicted today of fraud and tax evasion in connection with the operation of his financial planning service that targeted senior citizens.
John A. Picini, 54, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro to mail fraud and tax evasion charges. The statutory maximum penalty is 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain/loss, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9, 2013.
Picini operated a business called the Center for Senior Financial Planning in North Attleboro. Picini targeted senior citizen investors as clients and represented to them that he was knowledgeable in the protection and conservation of their assets. Beginning around 2006, Picini repeatedly advised various clients to liquidate retirement funds invested in annuities or other tax deferred investment vehicles and to re-invest these funds in purported accounts supposedly managed by Picini. Contrary to his representations, Picini did not invest these monies but instead used his clients’ funds for his own personal purposes.
In addition to depleting and spending his clients’ investments, Picini also charged his clients thousands of dollars in fees for nonexistent investments and for purchasing annuities for which he had already been compensated via commissions from the sellers of the annuities. Picini’s scheme also cost his clients thousands of dollars in fees and penalties for cashing out their legitimate investments, based on his directives. Furthermore, Picini filed false individual income tax returns with the IRS which substantially understated his true income.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Kevin Niland, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistance was also provided by the Massachusetts Securities Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Holik of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.