A federal judge sentenced a Wilmette financial advisor to more than six years in prison for pocketing nearly $2 million of his clients’ money after falsely promising substantial returns on investments in Facebook stock and real estate funds.
Alan H. Gold, 61, obtained money from more than a dozen investors by falsely representing that their assets would be invested in high-yield stocks, real estate funds, futures contracts and other investment products. Unbeknownst to his clients, Gold never actually invested their money. Instead, he used the funds to gamble at local casinos and to cover his own personal expenses.
Gold concealed the scheme for more than seven years by providing clients with phony account statements and fake stock certificates. Many of Gold’s victims are retirees and several of them spoke at his sentencing hearing about their financial losses.
Gold-pleaded guilty in January to five counts of wire fraud. U’S’ District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo imposed the 75-month sentence on Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Chicago. Judge Bucklo also ordered Gold to pay restitution of more than $1.8 million.
“Alan Gold betrayed the trust of his clients – people who considered him a friend and adviser,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil R. Harjani argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “It is important that the investment adviser community know that a term of imprisonment awaits them if they lie and steal from their clients.”
Gold’s fraud scheme began in approximately January 2008 and continued until his arrest in June 2015. The phony account statements bore the name of Gold’s company, Alan Gold & Associates, which Gold operated out of his residence in Wilmette. The account statement falsely represented that the clients’ funds were invested in such securities as Facebook stock, real estate funds and various alternative investments. When clients questioned the performance of the investment, Gold falsely represented that they were exceeding expectations.