GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An Albany-based financial planner pleaded not guilty to charges against him that he defrauded investors out of more than $1 million.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said at least 12 victims were involved in the Ponzi scheme, but a felony complaint against 59-year-old Frederick Monroe Jr., of Queensbury, only details how the former financial planner allegedly defrauded three of those victims.
The complaint said he solicited $1.26 million since 2008 from those three victims.
The AG’s office said Monroe used his established relationships over his 20-year career to lure clients to invest, but he instead allegedly diverted the money to his own pockets.
While Monroe was the senior vice president at Capital Financial Planning, the AG’s office said people wrote him checks to invest, but authorities said he used the money for personal expenses to repay earlier investors and to maintain a lavish lifestyle.
“Using that money to pay back earlier investors that he defrauded as well as paid personal expenses, including mortgage payments; credit card payments; hotels; airline tickets,” Assistant AG Philip Apruzzese said.
In Guilderland Town Court, Monroe pleaded not guilty to all nine felony counts against him, including Grand Larceny, Securities Fraud, Scheme to Defraud and Money Laundering in the First Degree.
“He did turn himself in, and he was fully cooperative,” Monroe’s Albany County public defender said.
Monroe was silent as he left court in handcuffs.
But Schneiderman released a statement saying in part:
“New Yorkers should be able to trust that their investments are being managed honestly and legally. This case shows that anyone who attempts to defraud investors in this state will have to answer for their alleged misconduct.”
Monroe’s bail was set at $300,000. If he puts up that money, he must surrender his passport.
The case will now move to Albany County Court. If convicted, Monroe faces up to 25 years in state prison.