New York woman admits to more than $500,000 theft from investment firm
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (NY)
Nov. 13—BUFFALO — A Falls woman has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from a Buffalo-based investment firm.Jennifer Campbell, 47, of the Falls, entered her plea to a single count of wire fraud during a Wednesday afternoon hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo. She faces a potential maximum prison term of 20 years behind bars and a fine of $250,000 when she is sentenced by Vilardo on Feb. 27.Campbell had been indicted by a federal grand jury, in June, on 23 counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Federal prosecutors said Campbell was employed as the office manager and chief compliance officer of an investment advisory firm based in Buffalo. Those roles gave Campbell access to client accounts with the firm.
In laying out their case against Campbell, before her plea, the prosecutors told Vilardo that between November 2018 and May 2021, she used her access to the client accounts to steal over $500,000 from both clients of the firm and from the firm itself. The government lawyers said Campbell wrote checks from the client and firm accounts by forging the signatures of either the client or a principal at the firm, and then deposited the checks into her own personal bank account.
Campbell was also accused of taking steps to conceal the thefts. Prosecutors said she sent a victim a falsified account statement showing a balance of approximately $148,000 in their account, when the account had an actual balance of only $93.
Prosecutors also said that Campbell took funds from a client and transferred them to the bank account of another victim, who believed that the funds she received were a distribution from her investment account.
When anti-money laundering and financial crimes personnel at the firm's broker-dealer begun to raise questions about some of Campbell's transactions, prosecutors said she "diverted emails" sent to the investment firm's principals to alert them of the potential fraud.
To stop the inquiries, Campbell reportedly sent several emails, using the email account of a firm principal, to the broker-dealer's investigators, that included false statements and fake documentation, in an effort to make her transactions appear legitimate.
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