An independent financial advisor from Roanoke, Va., who bilked his clients, many of them elderly, out of $1 million, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg, Va.

Michael D. Leamnson, 56, who operated under the name Capital Creation, promised his investors they could get their principal back at any time with interest and that their investments would pay large returns, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, Timothy J. Heaphy.

Instead, Leamnson said he put the money in a bank account and used it to pay early investors, as well as to pay his personal expenses and to fund two businesses, a concrete business and a school fund-raising company. He pleaded guilty to both wire and mail fraud on one count each.

Many of Leamnson's victims were elderly and invested their life savings with him, Heaphy says.

Leamnson faces up to 40 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000, and he will be ordered to pay restitution to his victims.

--Karen DeMasters