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Investment adviser who stole $2.8M from clients sentenced

January 12, 2023 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — An investment adviser who pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $3 million from six clients has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

James Kenneth Couture, 42, of Sutton, misappropriated the money from about 2009 until 2020 by transferring funds out of his clients’ accounts, investing those funds in fictitious mutual funds and selling other clients’ holdings to pay investment returns, federal prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday.

In one case in 2016, Couture liquidated one client’s variable annuities to fund withdrawals by another client, prosecutors said.

He also forged clients’ signatures on documents, or caused clients to sign documents by falsely stating that the proceeds of transactions would be used for the clients’ benefit.

After he was initially charged in June 2021, he created fake documents purported to be for his clients’ accounts and provided false information to at least one victim, resulting in a witness tampering charge, authorities said.

He was also sentenced to three years of probation, ordered to pay restitution of about $1.9 million, and forfeit more than $2.8 million.

He pleaded guilty in September to charges including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and investment adviser fraud.