Ex-advisor pleads guilty to $6M fraud, used funds to buy a Range Rover

This article was originally published by Financial-Planning.com

A former advisor pleaded guilty to a fraud scheme that cost clients $6 million but bought him a Range Rover, according to federal prosecutors.

Roger Hudspeth, 48, used some of the stolen cash to purchase a the car and pay for other personal expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern District of Virginia.

The former Norfolk, Virginia-based advisor not only sold unregistered investments as part of the scheme, but misled his clients about those investments, prosecutors charge. Yet it’s not the first time Hudspeth has been censured. Regulators fined him on at least two other occasions for various offenses.

In the most-recent case, an associate of Hudspeth, not named in the court documents, created and controlled investments, which were high risk and illiquid. The associate, however, had been banned from the industry by FINRA for unspecified fraudulent activities, according to prosecutors.

From 2012 to 2015, Hudspeth sold his associate’s investments to his wealth management clients, many of whom were retirees. The former independent advisor found some of these clients through seminars he offered on maximizing Social Security benefits, prosecutors say.

Hudspeth joined the industry in 2001, having worked at several independent BDs, including Royal Alliance and Next Financial, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He later ran his own firm, Dominion Investment Advisors.

Regulatory authorities in Virginia revoked Hudspeth’s licenses and permanently closed Dominion Investment Advisors in early 2016, according to prosecutors.

But that was not the first time he was under the regulatory spotlight.

In 2005, Virginia’s Bureau of Insurance fined him $1,000 for misrepresenting the terms of insurance policies, according to BrokerCheck records. In 2009, FINRA fined him $5,000 and suspended him for 30 days for selling REITs without possessing the correct license.

And Virginia’s securities regulator fined him again in 2013 for failing to report a disciplinary sanction. The penalty that time was $1,000.

Having pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this month, Hudspeth now faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 22, 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Neither he nor his attorney could not be reached for immediate comment.