A Lowell, Mass., investment advisor and accountant has pleaded guilty to charges that he misappropriated over $3.5 million in client assets for his own expenses, including payments against his gambling debts, after trying to flee the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Steven Xigoros, 55, was convicted of two counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of filing false tax returns in U.S. District Court after pleading guilty. His charges carry a potential 25-year prison sentence. 

As a tax preparer, accountant and investment advisor, Xigoros allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars from his clients intended to be used to make investments, purchase securities and to engage in various purported business ventures, instead using them for his personal needs.

Xigoros then deceived his clients to hid the fact that he had stolen their money, making false statements about how the money was invested and when it would be repaid, according to prosecutors.

Xigoros’s victims included an elderly couple who had given him their entire $1.3 million savings to invest. He also used a client’s name and Social Security number to open a bank account and write a check from that account to another client, knowing that the check would bounce, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Additionally, prosecutors said Xigoros failed to pay taxes and owed nearly $1.16 million to the Internal Revenue Service.

After being arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2021, Xigoros was arrested again nearly a year later while on pre-trial release as he attempted to board a plane bound for Athens at Newark Liberty International Airport, according to the announcement.

Xigoros, who has no record on Finra’s Brokercheck or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure sites, will be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2023, according to the announcement.