What You Need to Know
- The defendant had identified herself to clients as an advisor specializing in retirement planning.
- But the SEC says she was never registered.
- In addition to prison, she was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3.1 million in restitution.
A federal judge sentenced an unregistered financial advisor to 54 months in prison for scamming several older clients out of more than $3 million, according to court documents.
In addition to 4.5 years in prison, Judge Manish S. Shah on June 1 sentenced Lucita Zamoras to two years of supervised release after completing her sentence and ordered her to pay restitution of $3.1 million and a special assessment of $100, due immediately.
“We are pleased with [the] sentence Ms. Zamoras received,” Sami Azhari, the Chicago attorney who represented her, told ThinkAdvisor by email on Tuesday.
“Judge Shah was very thoughtful in his decision, and considered her extensive mitigation despite the government’s argument that he disregard her gambling addiction,” Azhari added. “She is looking forward to rebuilding her life and doing everything she can to contribute towards her restitution requirement.”
Zamoras, who allegedly told investors she was a financial advisor who specialized in retirement planning, claimed their funds would be invested in safe, low-risk investments, according to the criminal information filed against her by U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. on Oct. 10, 2018, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Their money was instead used to pay for her gambling costs, personal expenses and to make Ponzi-type investments to earlier investors, according to Lausch. Those other expenses included payroll expenditures, credit card payments, airline tickets, car payments and utilities, the information stated.
Despite her claims, Zamoras “has not been registered with” the Securities and Exchange Commission in any capacity, according to an earlier complaint that the SEC filed against her in the same court on April 3, 2017.