Sean Kelly got customers by offering free tax prep to veterans and free retirement planning seminars in assisted-living facilities. Then he stole $1 million of their money and blew it on luxuries like Super Bowl tickets, federal prosecutors said.
Kelly, a 49-year-old stock broker from Marietta, was arrested Friday on allegations of fraud and deceptive practices, court records show.
“Kelly gained the trust of elderly retirees, widows, veterans, and people with disabilities so he could loot their investments to support his lifestyle,” said Richard R. Best, regional director for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Atlanta office, in a news release.
The SEC started investigating the claim of 12 investors who allegedly had their funds stolen, and then federal prosecutors filed criminal charges.
Kelly is a registered representative of Center Street Securities, a Tennessee-based securities broker-dealer.
“Mr. Kelly acted on his own without the firm’s knowledge. Center Street has been fully cooperating with the SEC and has been contacting customers. If customers have questions, we ask them to call Center Street,” said Scott Holcomb, a partner with law firm Holcomb + Ward who represents Center Street.
Prosecutors said Kelly had companies under the brand “Lion’s Share” that included Lion’s Share Financial of East Cobb on Roswell Road.
According to a cached version of the website mentioned in federal charging documents, Kelly founded the brokerage firm in 2006. A call to the phone number listed on the website was not immediately returned Wednesday.
“Sean and his team of professionals place client objectives, responsiveness and service at the forefront of our relationship,” the website read.
It continued, saying he was: a little league coach, a sponsor of Pope and Walton high activities, a member of the parish council at Holy Family Catholic Church.
The way prosecutors say Kelly ran his scam is quite simple.
From January 2014 to October 2018, he had clients write checks to a bank account he owned and told them he was investing it for them but instead pocketed the money and “forged documents to make it look like he had invested victim funds,” according to court records.
He used the money on mortgage payments, trips and tickets to an unspecified Super Bowl game.
The SEC subpoenaed Kelly to go to the SEC office Oct. 24. He said he would come and told their lead investigator he would “come clean.” He didn’t show. They froze his assets.
Court records indicate that, as of Monday, Kelly was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.
Carrie Teegardin, reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, contributed to this article.
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