ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man is accused of stealing investment funds from his clients and has been arraigned in federal court on an indictment for mail fraud, wire, fraud, money laundering, and failure to file tax returns. The District of New Mexico’s United States Attorney’s Office reports that 49-year-old Richard Kessler was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 12 and was arraigned on April 28.
According to the indictment and additional court records, Kessler is accused of failing to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2014 through 2017. Kessler was operating as a financial advisor and investment broker under the business name Guardian Group Investments, LLC.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office states that Kessler allegedly used his position to influence investors into giving him access to investments funds that he diverted to his own benefit and use. He is accused of placing investors’ funds into a business savings account which is prohibited by New Mexico securities regulations.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Kessler is accused of moving funds from that account into his personal checking account on several occasions. Kessler allegedly fraudulently turned over $123,000 from four victims and is accused of not providing the victims with documentation of their investments that would have indicated their money had not been invested as they were told.
Kessler is accused of using money from certain victims to pay others in order to conceal the fraud. If convicted, Kessler is facing up to 20 years in prison. IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Schied is prosecuting the case.