Former Wells Fargo Financial Advisor Admits To $1.8 Million Check Scam

A financial advisor who formerly worked for Morgan Stanley & Co. and then Wells Fargo Advisors has admitted in federal court in San Francisco to forging an elderly widow’s name to $1.8 million worth of checks, prosecutors announced today.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Adorean Boleancu, 47, of Napa, admitted during a guilty plea on Friday to having signed his client’s name, without her authorization or knowledge, to $1.8 million worth of checks drawn on her brokerage account and home equity lines of credit.

Haag said Boleancu admitted he wrote the checks for his personal benefit and made them payable to his family members, his girlfriend, another female acquaintance, cash, and financial companies where he had credit card accounts.

Boleancu pleaded guilty during the court session before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg to one count of wire fraud committed in 2009.

He was originally charged in a federal grand jury indictment in July with a total of 27 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft allegedly carried out between 2007 and 2010.

The plea averts a trial that was scheduled to begin Sept. 23.

Boleancu will be sentenced by Seeborg on Dec. 17.

The wire fraud conviction carries a possible maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, plus a $1 million fine and restitution to the victim. Seeborg is expected to consider federal sentencing guidelines when determining the penalty, however.

Boleancu worked as a vice president and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley & Co. from 2004 to 2008, and as a vice president for Wells Fargo Advisors, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., from 2008 to 2011, according to the indictment.

The now-83-year-old widow was his client at both institutions between 2007 and 2011, the indictment said.

In a separate civil proceeding, Boleancu agreed in March to a settlement with a private regulatory agency, the Washington, D.C.,-based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The settlement required him to pay the widow $650,000 in restitution for money allegedly taken from her through checks drawn on her home equity lines between 2008 and 2010.

The settlement document said Boleancu accepted, but did not admit or deny, the agency’s findings.

The widow was “an inexperienced and unsophisticated investor” who relied on Boleancu’s professional advice and experience, the settlement said.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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