Independence Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty to $1 Million Fraud Against Elderly Clients
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence, Missouri, financial advisor pleaded guilty in federal court today to a fraud scheme in which he stole more than $1 million from two elderly clients.
“A trusted financial advisor greedily preyed on two unsuspecting elderly clients to illegally enrich himself,” said U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. “It’s criminal, but even more contemptible when those granted positions of trust take advantage of vulnerable victims, such as their elderly clients.”
Kraig Gier, 59, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to two counts of wire fraud.
Gier, who operated a business called Security Planning Corporation, admitted that he stole a total of $1,087,964 from a 96-year-old client and an 84-year-old client. Through his scheme to defraud, Gier caused losses to one victim client of $879,602 and to another victim client of $208,362.
Gier began making fraudulent withdrawals from the various investment accounts of these clients in February 2015, and had the money deposited into either his personal checking account or his business account. This fraud scheme continued until July 2018.
Gier sometimes forged the signature of the client victims on the paperwork associated with a particular withdraw request. At other times, Gier would contain with the withdrawal paperwork a fraudulent voided check with the victim’s name on it but with his personal or business account number as the intended recipient of the requested funds.
In order to cover up his fraudulent scheme, Gier admitted, he prepared false and fictitious documentation purportedly from the financial company holding the victim clients’ investment. This documentation would fraudulently represent they were making a significant profit even though he had often significantly depleted their account.
Under federal statutes, Gier is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole on each of the two counts. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney David Ketchmark. It was investigated by the FBI and the Independence, Mo., Police Department.