A Massachusetts investment advisor has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud and other charges after a failed attempt to flee the country while he was awaiting trial.
Steven Xigoros, of Lowell, Mass., is facing up to 25 years in prison for defrauding clients of more than $3.5 million to pay personal expenses, including gambling debts, according to the Department of Justice.
Xigoros was indicted in September 2021 when the Justice Department charged him in a long-running scheme to entice clients to make investments with him, lying about the securities he said he would purchase, and creating false account statements to conceal the theft.
“When the clients followed Xigoros’ advice, he made few or no investments on their behalf and instead used the clients’ funds himself, including to make payments against his gambling debts,” the Justice Department said in its indictment.
Xigoros’ attorney, Scott Lauer, a federal public defender, declined to comment for this article.
Last month, while Xigoros was free on pretrial release, he booked a flight to Athens, and was arrested at the Newark, N.J. airport. His release conditions only permitted travel within the U.S., according to his arrest warrant.
This week, Xigoros entered a guilty plea for two counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of filing a false tax return.
Two of the victims were an elderly couple who had invested their life savings—$1.3 million—with Xigoros and lost it all, according to the Justice Department.
The identity theft charge stemmed from Xigoros acting as a client’s representative in the sale of a piece of real estate. Under the terms of the sale, the client was to receive annual payments for $400,000 for five years. Xigoros arranged for those checks to come to him, not the client, and endorsed at least some of them in the client’s name, depositing the funds in an account he controlled, according to the indictment.
In addition to being an investment advisor, Xigoros was also an accountant and tax preparer.
The Justice Department noted that Xigoros did not report the money he stole as income and pay taxes on it, and that he owes the IRS around $1.6 million.
Court documents say he was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after arrest. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2023.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings