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Maine man sentenced for stealing from investment clients

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 20. 2018 10:21PM

CONCORD — A Maine man was sentenced to four years in federal prison for stealing millions of dollars in a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud clients of his investment company.

William Bischoff, 76, of York, Maine, was sentenced to 48 months behind bars Wednesday in U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Scott Murray announced.

Over the course of eight years, Bischoff, who ran Genesis Investments Group in Portsmouth, stole more than $4.2 million from 26 clients, some of whom considered the financial adviser to be a close personal friend, according to documents filed in a federal court.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2009 through September 2017, Bischoff defrauded more than two dozen clients by falsely promising to invest their money in real estate, structured legal settlements, high yield notes, and a start-up recycling business. He also guaranteed returns that far exceeded market norms.

According to court documents, Bischoff was actually using the funds to pay personal expenses, make his own investments and to pay other clients, a January plea deal states.

Bischoff also previously pleaded guilty to failing to pay federal income tax, depriving the government of nearly $568,845.

In total, Bischoff stole $5,647,446.33 from the defrauded investors. To conceal that conduct, Bischoff used money he received from some victim investors to make payments to other victim investors. He also provided monthly account statements to the victim investors that falsely represented the balance of their fictitious investment accounts.

“It is hard to comprehend the emotional and financial harm that Mr. Bischoff inflicted on the victims of his criminal conduct,” said Murray in a statement. “It is my sincere hope that the prosecution of this case will deter other people from engaging in similar conduct. Those who commit financial crimes should understand that we will aggressively prosecute them and will not hesitate to recommend substantial prison sentences.”

“Mr. Bischoff betrayed his unsuspecting clients and defrauded them out of millions of dollars through an elaborate scheme he devised for his own personal gain,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division. “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners in rooting out those who engage in financial crimes like this. Those who abuse their positions of trust to illegally enrich themselves will be held accountable for their actions.”

“The Bureau was pleased to do its part in this coordinated investigation,” said Deputy Director of the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation Jeffrey Spill in a statement. “When the fraud was uncovered, the agencies acted quickly to shut the scheme down which prevented further losses.”

“The role of IRS Criminal Investigation becomes even more important in embezzlement and fraud cases due to the complex financial transactions that can take time to unravel,” said Special Agent in Charge Kristina O’Connell of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office. “The federal tax laws are routinely violated in these cases which can add additional jail time.”


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