Michelle Lee Kern, 36, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $642,625 in restitution for financial advisor fraud, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Kern worked as a licensed financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Roseville between 2009 and December 2012. While working as a financial advisor, Kern stole $642,625 from approximately 20 clients by making wire transfers from client accounts to Kern’s own bank accounts and credit cards. Kern also forged client signatures on checks. According to victim statements read in court, Kern’s theft made it difficult for some victims to retire, support disabled children, and pay for college.
“Kern abused her role as a trusted, licensed financial advisor to defraud her clients for personal gain. Her actions clearly demonstrated disregard for the perilous financial situation her clients ultimately faced when they became victims of the fraud,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Sacramento division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Investigation and prosecution of financial fraud is a top priority for the FBI, particularly such that is committed by those entrusted to safeguard funds.”
While awaiting sentencing in this case, Kern was charged in Placer County with embezzling from her church. That case is pending, and Kern is presumed innocent of those charges, unless and until proven guilty.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Anderson prosecuted the case.
Kern was ordered to turn herself in to the Bureau of Prisons on September 11, 2014, to begin serving her sentence.