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Press Release

Financial Advisor Sentenced for $1.2 Million Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

A financial advisor who conned at least ten clients out of more than $1.2 million was sentenced today to five years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Dusty Sternadel, 43, pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud. She was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor.

According to plea papers, Ms. Sternadel, a financial adviser at a large multi-national financial services firm, tricked clients into sending her money and checks, which she deposited into her own accounts.

On Sept. 18, 2019, for example, Ms. Sternadel transferred almost $27,000 from a client’s brokerage account into their personal checking account. She then falsely told the client-victim that the firm had accidentally transferred someone else’s money into the checking account, and instructed the victim to write out a check for that amount. The victim complied, and Ms. Sternadel deposited the funds into her own business bank account and used it for personal expenses.

Over the course of the scheme, which lasted from 2019 to 2022, Ms. Sternadel stole at least $1.2 million from ten victims:

  • Victim 1: $286,021.63 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 2: $18,122 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 3: $ 101,240.50 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 4: $21,064 ($9,334 of which was refunded by the firm)
  • Victim 5: $43,099.21 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 6: $51,600 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 7: $204,442.82 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 8: $40,000
  • Victim 9:  $288,979.89 (refunded to the victim by the firm)
  • Victim 10: $175,201.25 (refunded to the victim by the firm)

At sentencing, prosecutors said most of the victims were elderly, and some of them were even suffering from cognitive decline.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Weybrecht prosecuted the case; Assistant U.S. Attorney John de la Garza handled the forfeiture. 


Erin Dooley
Press Officer

Updated April 26, 2024

Financial Fraud