Chesterton Tribune

Former Valpo financial adviser admits stealing $800,000 of client's money

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A Valparaiso resident who made unauthorized transfers of more than half a million dollars from a client’s account while working as a franchised financial advisor for a national investment company is facing a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana said.

Jennifer Guelinas, 44, pleaded guilty last week.

Wire fraud is punishable by a maximum term of 20 years. The plea agreement—which is not binding on the court—recommends a sentence of 12 months and then three years of supervised release, with restitution to be determined by the court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to court documents, between Dec. 29, 2006, and Nov. 5, 2010, Guelinas transferred in excess of $800,000 from a client’s account into her personal bank account by forging her client’s name on the wire transfer requests.

The criminal information does not identify the national investment company with which Guelinas had a franchise agreement, except to say that it is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn.

When her client “became aware of several of the above-described wire transfers, he questioned Guelinas, who provided false information in order to make the transfers appear legitimate,” the court documents state. Then, when the national investment company questioned her, “she initially denied wrongdoing and provided misleading information but later admitted to forging (her client’s) name on wire transfer requests.”

Guelinas was fired by the company on Nov. 5, 2010, court documents state. “To date, Guelinas has not repaid (her client) for any of the over $800,000 she stole.”


Posted 5/8/2012