Investment Advisor Sentenced to More Than 5 Years in Prison for Misappropriating $6.5 Million in Client Funds
CHICAGO — An investment advisor was sentenced today to more than five years in federal prison for stealing $6.5 million from several clients, including family members in the Chicago area.
HENRY MEYER, who owned HCM Asset Management LLC in Coral Gables, Fla., misappropriated the money from 2009 to 2016. Most of Meyer’s clients were his family members and friends, some of whom were elderly and had invested their retirement savings. Meyer used some of the stolen funds to pay personal expenses, including rent, utilities and car payments. His credit card statements reflect expensive purchases at restaurants, including lavish tips in the hundreds of dollars.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle imposed the 69-month prison sentence and ordered Meyer to pay $6.5 million in restitution to the victims. Meyer, 47, of Coral Gables, Fla., pleaded guilty last year to one count of mail fraud.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“This case is about a bold and brash con man who has little concern for anybody but himself,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil R. Harjani argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “The harm he has caused the victims is hard to overstate.”
According to his plea agreement, Meyer told investors that their funds would be placed in a “European Derivative Investment Program,” whose performance was purportedly premised on the failures of several European economies. In soliciting investors, Meyer claimed the program had partnerships with several European firms, and that he was part of a group of highly successful investment firms operating in the European derivatives markets. Meyer represented that his firm produced investment returns as high as 600%.
In reality, the European Derivative Investment Program did not exist. There was no support from other European companies, and Meyer’s firm never produced any successful returns.
In 2016, Meyer was arrested and a search warrant was executed at his apartment. Among other things, the FBI found a document on Meyer’s desk entitled “Battle Plan.” Part of the document discussed Meyer’s attempt to obtain more funding from new investors in order to make Ponzi-type payments to older investors. Another part of the document discussed how to expedite Meyer’s passport application as part of a plan to evade law enforcement. Meyer’s “Battle Plan” set forth a strategy to travel initially to a location in the southern United States, followed by an “international escape” to such locations as the Bahamas, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Australia or New Zealand.