A metro Atlanta investment adviser whose assets were frozen last year after he was accused of misusing investors’ money has pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding clients of more than $2.5 million, prosecutors said Friday.
Benjamin Daniel DeHaan, 37, of Decatur, owned and operated Atlanta-based Lighthouse Financial Partners LLC. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Federal prosecutors said he used client cash to buy a home and a stake in a restaurant and bar in Memphis. DeHaan recruited investors by posting videos to his own website and YouTube touting proprietary software that helped him time stock trades to produce profits.
Client funds also were used in an investment account in DeHaan’s name, the government said, alleging he hid the scheme by producing fraudulent account statements.
“This defendant may have started out as a legitimate investment advisor, but he got greedy and began stealing from his clients,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April.
In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission moved to freeze assets belonging to DeHaan and his firm. No plan of restitution was announced in the news release.
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