Former investment adviser sentenced for operating Ponzi scheme

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Bellbrook man will spend five years in prison after his conviction on 128 felony counts relating to securities fraud from his time as a financial advisor.

68-year-old John Gregory Schmidt operated Schmidt Investment Strategies Group on Paragon Road in Washington Township while employed by Wells Fargo Advisors Financial since 2006.

Throughout this time, officials say he stole money from investment accounts in order to cover other stolen money in investor’s accounts, known as a “Ponzi” scheme.

Schmidt also presented fake financial statements to investors in order to cover for the missing investments.

Additionally, he sold securities without investors’ knowledge or authorization, and received commission on those transactions of nearly a quarter-million dollars.

The Ohio Department of Insurance and the Ohio Department of Commerce noticed irregularities and began a lengthy investigation.

He entered a plea of no contest and was found guilty as charged on the following:

124 counts of forgery
Two counts of theft from an elderly or disabled adult over $150,000
One count of telecommunications fraud over $150,000 but less than $1,000,000
One count of fraud or deceit by investment advisor over $150,000

Schmidt will have to pay one of his victims $34,446 in addition to his prison time. Wells Fargo has already paid roughly $3,700,000 to the victims of the defendant’s thefts.

Prosecutor Heck stated, “For over a decade, this defendant defrauded investors, many of them elderly and disabled. In order for his criminal activity to go undetected, he had to keep stealing from more investors in order to cover for the thefts from other investors. The defendant has shown no remorse for his actions and certainly deserves this prison sentence.”

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