Former Lake Oswego Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors
PORTLAND, Ore. – Shayne Kniss, 42, formerly of Lake Oswego, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud for defrauding clients of his investment firm, Iris Capital Management Group, LLC (Iris Capital).
“Investment advisors are legally required to act in the best interest of the clients. This defendant did the exact opposite.” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Kniss lied to and took advantage of his clients, many of whom were over 65, to fund his own personal pursuits.”
“Kniss treated these victims - and their savings accounts - like his personal ATM,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “If you - or senior citizens in your family - are considering investments of any kind, make sure you do your research. Only invest with reputable firms and, if the promised returns sound too good to be true, they likely are.”
According to court documents, Kniss founded Iris Capital in October 2010 and offered real estate based investments in several different funds to investors. Through various means, including brochures, private placement memoranda, emails, and personal presentations, Kniss misrepresented how he would manage investor funds.
Between February 2011 and April 2013, 47 people invested approximately $4.3 million in Kniss’s funds. Kniss commingled investor money among the funds, used new investments to make payments to prior investors, and used more than $500,000 for person use, including investing in a retail marijuana enterprise.
Kniss faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or twice the gross financial gains or losses resulting from the offense if greater than $250,000, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.
The FBI investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.