A former Merrill Lynch broker and financial advisor who defrauded multiple investors out of more than $3 million has been sentenced to eight years in prison by U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

U.S. District Senior Judge Charles R. Simpson III also imposed three years of supervised release, and a SPA of $1,000 on Christopher Hibbard, 44, of Louisville, Ky. Hibbard was initially indicted in November 2018 with one count of investment fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. He pleaded guilty on June 30 to the charges, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hibbard, who was a broker registered with three different securities firms including Merrill Lynch between 2004 and 2018, was previously barred in May 2018 by the Financial Regulatory Authority, based on his violation of securities laws.

According to the court document, on or about Feb. 9, 2007 and Dec. 20, 2008, Hibbard made dozens of wire transfers from the brokerage account of a Louisville resident in the total amount of $1.3 million. It said Hibbard admitted to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that he had misappropriated and used a substantial portion of the client’s monies for his own personal use.

After nearly exhausting the funds in the account, the court said Hibbard presented the client with fraudulent brokerage statements that were used to lull the client into believing the account contained as much as $4 million, the court said.

Also, between Jan. 10, 2011 and Dec. 20, 2017, the court said Hibbard, without the knowledge of the account holder(s), initiated more than 300 unauthorized ACH transfers by wire in interstate commerce from his client accounts to an American Express account he controlled.

In doing so, Hibbard misappropriated and embezzled more than $3 million in client monies and used the funds for personal expenditures, the court said. “In order to effectuate his scheme to defraud, the defendant engaged in unauthorized trading and liquidation of clients’ investments, made unauthorized withdrawals from client annuity accounts, and committed acts of forgery,” the court said.