Investment Adviser Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Stealing Client Funds
BOSTON – A Pittsburgh woman was sentenced on Friday, March 27, 2015 for orchestrating a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that harmed scores of victims.
Patricia S. Miller, 68, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to six years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and forfeiture. In December 2014, Miller pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud for orchestrating a large Ponzi scheme that harmed over 80 victims.
Miller used her position as a trusted financial adviser, as well as her association with a Massachusetts-based broker dealer, to obtain money from clients for purported investments that she never made on behalf of clients. Specifically, Miller promised high returns if clients put their money into “investment clubs” called, among other things, “KS Investments” and “Buckharbor.” Miller represented, among other things, that funds put into her “investment clubs” would be placed in fixed-income notes and other investments. Miller was able to obtain over $4.1 million from more than 80 clients for these purported investment clubs. Instead of investing the money as promised, she misappropriated client funds for her own use, which robbed many victims of their life savings.
“The personal nature and scope of Ms. Miller’s fraud, as well as the calculated effort she took while carrying it out, makes this one of the more serious white collar cases,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “The crime has had tangible and long-lasting effects on the lives of the victims who now face the frightening reality of financial insecurity.”
“Ms. Miller engineered an elaborate scam and stole millions of dollars from dozens of unsuspecting victims who trusted her,” said Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “The FBI will continue to go after people like her who shamelessly swindle others out of their hard-earned money for the benefit of themselves.”
U.S. Attorney Ortiz and SAC Lisi made the announcement today. U.S. Attorney Ortiz also expressed appreciation for the help and cooperation her office received from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburgh Field Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.
Today’s announcement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. The interagency FFETF was created to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force, chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder, includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.