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April 17, 2020

Torrington financial advisor gets 33 months for misappropriating $575K

A Torrington financial advisor has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for misappropriating about $575,000 from his investment clients, prosecutors say.

U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden on Thursday via video conference sentenced Lester Burroughs, 61, to 33 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release for mishandling client money between at least 2012 through 2019, according to the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s office. 

Burroughs, who is free on a $100,000 bond, is scheduled to report to prison on June 1. As previously reported, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in December.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Burroughs, a registered securities broker with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, owned Burroughs Investment Group, a full-service financial consulting firm based in Torrington until November.

Investigators say Burroughs misrepresented to some clients that their money would be invested in legitimate, guaranteed investment contracts, However, he used their money to pay other clients’ business expenses, and other guaranteed investment returns.

Investigators say Burroughs started the multi-year scheme after an investment he recommended to a client did not garner an expected return, and he feared his business would suffer if that client filed a complaint with regulatory authorities.

Burroughs then stole roughly $370,000 from an elderly client in an effort to pay the nonexistent returns of the failed investment to the aforementioned client.

In 2018, the daughter of the elderly client requested a full accounting of her mother’s investment, and Burroughs attempted to cover up his misappropriation by providing her with fraudulent statements and documents.

The daughter again demanded the money, and Burroughs provided the elderly client with funds he had bilked from three other clients that were told their money was being invested in guaranteed investment contracts.

In total, Burroughs defrauded clients for a total of approximately $575,000. As part of his plea, he previously agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $575,000 to the victims of his crime.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather L. Cherry.

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