Ex-Arizona investment adviser sentenced to 24 months in prison in fraud case

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A former Arizona financial advisor was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to money laundering. (Source: AP Images) A former Arizona financial advisor was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to money laundering. (Source: AP Images)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A former Arizona financial adviser was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to money laundering.

Federal prosecutors say 44-year-old Bart James Ellis of Scottsdale, Arizona solicited more than $1.1 million from former clients, several of whom were elderly.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Ex-Arizona investment adviser pleads guilty in fraud case]

"Investment fraud is especially problematic when criminals target retirees," said acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Strange in a news release. "The United States Attorney's Office takes this kind of criminal conduct very seriously and will continue to aggressively prosecute financial frauds."

Ellis told his clients the funds would be used to purchase low-risk investments but instead, he used approximately $400,000 on personal expenses and lost approximately $700,000 on risky stock trades in his online brokerage account.

"The defendant misled his clients and stole their hard-earned money," said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr. in a news release. "IRS-CI will continue to protect the public by investigating individuals who defraud their investor clients."

Attempting to conceal his fraudulent scheme, Ellis tried falsifying investment statements.

The case investigation was handled by the IRS Criminal Investigations and the prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S.Attorney Mark Kokanovich.

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