A New York investment advisor pled guilty Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan to defrauding family and friends of $1.5 million and ending up with an investment firm with less than $1,000 in assets under management, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced.
William J. Wells, formerly of New York City and now of Valley Cottage, N.Y., used the money gained from more than 30 investors to fund his own lavish life style, including paying for credit card debt, a car and private school tuition, says U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. He also used new money to pay off early investors.
During the course of his scheme that lasted six years until his arrest in 2015, Wells assured clients of his investment success and created false reports for clients, many of whom were family members, colleagues and friends. His firm, Promitor Capital LLC, lost at least $500,000 of the investors’ money in bad trades and ended up with less than $1,000 in AUM, according to the indictment and court records.
“As he admitted in court, William Wells engaged in a fraudulent scheme where he lured investors through lies about his trading performance and spent their money lavishly on himself. Instead of operating a legitimate investment firm – as he said he would to his investors – Wells focused on covering up his consistent trading losses and his personal spending of investor money,” Bharara says.
Wells pled guilty to one count each of securities fraud and wire fraud. A sentencing date has not been set.