Former financial planner sentenced after defrauding clients out of more than $600K
Published Monday, September 16, 2019 11:45AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 16, 2019 3:41PM EDT
A 67-year-old Kitchener man is off to prison after pleading guilty to defrauding nearly a dozen clients out of more than a half a million dollars.
Ronald Schwartz, a former financial planner and broker selling Sun Life Financial products, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison in less than 30 minutes.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Schwartz defrauded 11 clients out of a combined $621,000. Most of that was already spent at the time of his arrest in January.
Between 2011 and 2014, Schwartz cashed out the investments of 10 of his clients without their knowledge.
He told the 11th client that he was cashing out $150,000 with the promise of reinvesting it elsewhere. He kept the money instead.
Sun Life Financial was able to pay back 10 of the victims with funds provided by the Bank of Montreal, which is where the money was wrongfully deposited. They also returned the growth they missed out on.
One victim was not compensated because she was aware of the withdrawal.
"Sun Life is aware of the court's decision against Mr. Schwartz and we are pleased that this matter has been concluded," a spokesperson from Sun Life said in a statement. The statement went on to explain that the man's contract was terminated as soon as the fraud was discovered.
Before he was led away in handcuffs, Schwartz was told he has 10 years to pay back the $150,000 to the victim who wasn't compensated.
He also has to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars to the financial institutions involved.
A previous version of this article stated that Sun Life Financial sued the Bank of Montreal to compensate the victims. In fact, BMO offered voluntarily to give up the funds.