A Bismarck securities broker was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison for defrauding victims of more than $5 million.
Kevin Wanner, a registered securities agent of Minneapolis-based Questar Capital Corporation doing business as Precision Financial, in March pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering in a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
An investigation by the North Dakota Securities Department had found Wanner appeared to have operated a Ponzi scheme for more than 15 years, allegedly victimizing 66 North Dakotans, selling fictitious brokered certificates of deposit and unregistered interests in pooled investments.
Rather than investing the money, the department said Wanner was pocketing most of it for personal use, and, in classic ponzi-scheme style, using money from one investor to pay interest to the next in order to keep the scheme going.
When the Securities Department completed its investigation and secured nearly $3 million in restitution for victims, the case was recommended to the U.S. Attorney for criminal charges.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland called the Ponzi scheme “calculated and sophisticated” and referenced the ongoing hardship to the victims in issuing his sentence.
“Judge Hovland’s sentencing of Wanner sends a strong message that individuals committing investment fraud in North Dakota will face serious consequences. Final restitution amounts, including lost interest from the fraudulent investments, will be determined at a future date,” the Securities Department said in a statement.