A former Merrill Lynch broker has been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to investment advisor fraud and wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville, court documents show.
Hibbard was sentenced to 97 months and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Senior Judge Charles R. Simpson III, who also ordered Hibbard to pay a $1,000 criminal penalty, a court document filed Friday shows.
Merrill Lynch “fired Mr. Hibbard nearly three years ago after an internal investigation found he stole client funds and made unauthorized transactions,” company spokesman William Halldin told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday. “We notified the appropriate authorities and have cooperated with the investigations. Consistent with our policy, we have compensated affected clients.”
Hibbard was affiliated with Merrill Lynch from July 2010 until his termination in January 2018, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. FINRA barred him from the industry and he is no longer a registered broker or RIA, according to BrokerCheck.
David A. Lambertus, a Louisville attorney who represented Hibbard, said Wednesday he and his client had no comment about the prison sentence.
Wire Transfers, Fake Statements
According to a plea agreement, on or about Feb. 9, 2007, and Dec. 20, 2008, Hibbard made dozens of wire transfers from the brokerage account of a Louisville resident in the total amount of $1.2 million, Coleman said.