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The home of Frederick McMenimen in Exeter is among the assets being debated in his Chapter 7 claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE)

Embattled financial adviser fights lien

BRENTWOOD - An Exeter financial adviser charged with stealing $1 million from two former clients is moving forward with efforts to upend an alleged victim's lien on his 3,700-square-foot home.

Frederick McMenimen wants a bankruptcy judge to nullify a $900,000 lien filed against him in superior court by one of his alleged victims, Victoria Wagstaff of North Hampton.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge J. Michael Deasy has given McMenimen until Friday to submit whatever evidence he has to support his argument. Wagstaff will be able to submit evidence to rebut McMenimen's request on the same day, according to the judge's order. The matter will be taken up at a hearing in December. The hearing is among a number of court battles that began just before McMenimen's indictment by a federal grand jury in October. He faces a 31-count indictment charging him with money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion.

McMenimen heads to trial in U.S. District Court the week of March 8.

Federal prosecutors said the two victims were financially unsophisticated and longtime family friends. The women believed they were entrusting their life savings to McMenimen for high-return investments, according to prosecutors.

At the time, McMenimen was a registered representative of Prudential. Prosecutors say Prudential has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

McMenimen allegedly used stolen funds to pay $140,000 on his home mortgage, $350,000 in personal credit card debt and $120,000 in tuition for private colleges and schools for his three children.

Wagstaff had filed a civil lawsuit against McMenimen in Rockingham County Superior Court in January, seeking to recoup her money. A judge approved a $900,000 lien on McMenimen's Exeter home, but the lawsuit was essentially brought to a halt two months later as a result of McMenimen filing for personal bankruptcy.

McMenimen is also trying to dodge another $1.4 million civil judgment awarded by a Massachusetts jury. In that case, a jury found that McMenimen defrauded his late uncle while selling him a life insurance policy. Defense lawyer Michael Feinman said in court papers that McMenimen is entitled to avoid the lien under state law. Feinman argued that a federal tax lien of $341,000, and two home mortgages already outweighs the fair market value of McMenimen's home. Feinman said the home - which is currently up for sale - is valued at $455,000.

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