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Regulation and Compliance > Litigation

Ex-Wife of Advisor Hunted By FBI Tells Him to Give Up

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What You Need to Know

  • The advisor went missing in September after allegedly scamming about 100 investors.
  • His ex-wife says she had no idea of her husband's activities or that he was planning to divorce her and leave.
  • The FBI has been hunting for Christopher W. Burns since he disappeared.

The ex-wife of an Atlanta-area advisor who has been hunted by the FBI since the fall for allegedly scamming about 100 investors as part of a Ponzi scheme involving illegal promissory notes is calling on him to give himself up.

In an interview with a WSB TV reporter in Georgia, Meredith Burns, the former wife of Christopher W. Burns, called on her husband to “turn yourself in,” saying “it’s time.” She also told the reporter she had “no idea who I was living with” and “had no clue” that he was planning to divorce her and leave.

In a statement provided to the reporter, Kristen Novay, an attorney at Garland, Samuel & Loeb representing the ex-wife, said: “It bears repeating that Meredith Burns played no part in the operations of the companies” her former husband was involved in, “which is why Meredith has been listed as a relief defendant and not an actual defendant in the SEC complaint” that was filed against her ex-husband in November.

Meredith Stone “continues to cooperate fully and consistently with all law enforcement authorities,” according to Novay.

Fraud, Divorce, Disappearance

The SEC complaint alleged Christopher Burns increased his promissory note sales in recent months, then disappeared with investor proceeds in late September. One day before he disappeared, Burns entered a divorce agreement with his wife that transferred many of their joint assets to her and, on the day he disappeared, he transferred his interest in their home to her, the SEC alleged.

In addition to the SEC complaint, he was also named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit filed Oct. 28 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia announced in October that Burns was charged with mail fraud and there was a warrant for his arrest because his whereabouts were unknown.

Burns “has not been located since he left his home on September 24, 2020, one day before he was supposed to turn over documents related to his businesses” to the SEC, the FBI said in a news release. He is also under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI said.

Burns conducted business through a number of entities, including Investus Advisers, Investus Financial, Dynamic Money and Peer Connect — all named as defendants in the class-action complaint, which named Susan Zimmerman as a plaintiff, along with others who become class members. Burns allegedly “defrauded a number of victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the FBI noted.

Between January 2018 and Sept. 21, 2020, Zimmerman invested a total of about $350,000 of her retirement savings into the scheme and lost her investment, according to the complaint. “In fact, just days before it was reported in the news that Burns vanished, he bilked Zimmerman out of an additional $50,000 and convinced her to invest in another peer to peer investment,” the suit alleges.

Burns had served as an advisor and broker, but is no longer registered as either, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.

Pictured: Christopher W. Burns. (Photo via FBI)


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