ATLANTA — Buford investment advisor Blake Bancroft Richards has been sentenced for stealing over $3.2 million from his clients. The defendant used client funds to make personal loan payments, take personal trips, and pay other personal expenses.
“Investors trusted Richards to invest their money as he promised,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Instead, he stole their savings and repeatedly lied to them about his investments and self-dealing. Investors need to be careful and thoroughly vet those whom they entrust their hard-earned money.”
“The pain and suffering to the victims of this crime can never be appeased,” said FBI Atlanta Acting Special Agent in Charge George Crouch. “The trust that was violated by Richards has caused life-long damage to these individuals.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Richards worked as an investment advisor for LPL Financial, Inc., in Buford, Georgia. From 2008 through 2013, Richards defrauded his clients of money entrusted to him for investment purposes. He falsely represented that he would invest the money in life insurance, fixed income assets, variable annuities, and stocks. Instead, he deposited the money into bank accounts he controlled and used the money to make his own loan payments, pay real estate taxes, take personal trips, and pay other personal expenses.
To conceal his theft, Richards manufactured certificates and provided investors with fictitious account statements. When investors asked for their money, Richards made payments from his personal account or made excuses about why he could not return their money. During the five years of his scheme, Richards defrauded his clients, including close friends and family, of over $3.2 million.
Blake Bancroft Richards, 39, of Buford, Georgia was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, a special assessment of $100, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,749,485.80. Richards was convicted on these charges on June 15, 2016, after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Bernita B. Malloy prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga