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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mandeville Financial Adviser Sentenced for Stealing $1.1 Million from Elderly Investors

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced yesterday the sentencing of a Mandeville investment adviser who stole more than $1.1 million from elderly investors in a widespread investment fraud scheme.

On November 13, 2018, RALPH WILLARD SAVOIE, age 71, of Mandeville, Louisiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick.  SAVOIE had previously been convicted of wire fraud.  As a result of his conviction, SAVOIE was sentenced to a term of 168 months imprisonment, restitution to victims in the amount of $1,143,965, forfeiture of $1,134,070, and a 3 year term of supervised release following imprisonment.  Savoie was immediately remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to begin his 168 month sentence of imprisonment.

As SAVOIE acknowledged in court during his guilty plea and at his sentencing hearing, from in or about January 2013 through at least March 2016, he executed a scheme to defraud victim investors by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, promises, and representations.  SAVOIE told his victim investors that he would invest their funds in securities and insurance, and described the investment opportunities as a “sure thing.”  SAVOIE also guaranteed the victim investors high rates of return.  However, instead of investing the funds as promised, SAVOIE spent the victim investor funds on jewelry, hotels, and restaurants, and withdrew the funds in cash.  SAVOIE also used victim investor funds to pay his credit card bills and rent and to pay off other victim investors who had previously invested their money with him.

Towards the end of SAVOIE’s fraudulent scheme, a victim investor confronted SAVOIE about his investment.  SAVOIE admitted to the victim investor that what he did with the victim investor’s money was illegal.  Despite admitting his criminal conduct, SAVOIE later told the victim investor that he would never see his money returned if he reported the matter to law enforcement.  SAVOIE also concealed from victim investors that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an organization dedicated to market integrity and investor protection, had barred him from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public.  During his guilty plea, SAVOIE admitted that he stole up to $1.5 million from investors.

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “This conviction and sentence sends a loud and clear message – those who abuse their fiduciary responsibilities and take advantage of the elderly in this district will face the full might of the federal government. We will not tolerate corrupt professionals who abuse positions of trust and exploit vulnerable individuals simply to enrich themselves.  I greatly appreciate the efforts of our prosecutors and the agents with IRS-CI, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation who collaborated on this very important matter.”

IRS-CI Acting Assistant Special Agent In Charge Demetrius Hardeman stated, “Trust in the fair and equitable operation of our financial markets is the foundation of a free economy.  Ralph Savoie received the court’s punishment for his abuse of honest investors seeking to leverage the market, and must now spend the next 14 years in prison paying for his wrongdoings.  The Special Agents of IRS-CI are proud of the work we have done in this investigation, and will continue our efforts toward maintain the integrity of the country’s financial markets.”   

This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, a section of the Louisiana Department of Justice.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rene Salomon, who also serves as the Chief of the Criminal Division.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Updated November 14, 2018