Frederick Investment Adviser Indicted for Stealing More Than $1.2 Million from a Client
GREENBELT, MD—A federal grand jury indicted Travis Wetzel, age 35, of Frederick, Maryland, on charges arising from the illegal transfer of $1,282,224 from a client’s annuity account. The indictment was returned on May 28, 2014, and Wetzel was arrested today.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Wetzel was a financial adviser employed with an investment advisory firm located in Rockville, Maryland. In 2009, Wetzel was promoted to branch operations manager. According to the 24-count indictment, from July 2010 to September 2012, Wetzel took a total of approximately $1,282,224 from an annuity account of a client without the client’s knowledge and used the money for his personal benefit. Wetzel also allegedly laundered at least $376,444 of the money he took by transferring the money to other bank accounts he controlled.
Wetzel faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud and 10 years in prison for money laundering. An initial appearance was held for Wetzel this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. in the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Wetzel was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney David Salem and Leah J. Bressack, who are prosecuting the case.