August 1, 2014

Former Investment Adviser Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Tax Evasion

ROANOKE, VA—A former investment adviser employed by the Roanoke, Va. branch of an unnamed global financial services firm, pled guilty yesterday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke to wire fraud and tax evasion charges.

Donna J. Tucker, 58, of Roanoke, Va., waived her right to be indicted yesterday afternoon and pled guilty to a two-count Information charging her with one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. In addition, Tucker’s plea agreement holds her accountable for restitution to victims including but not limited to up to $1 million.

“Ms. Tucker violated the trust of her clients and schemed to steal their hard-earned savings,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Our office will continue to use all the resources available to investigate fraud and pursue restitution for its victims.”

According to information presented at yesterday’s guilty plea hearing by Special Assistant United States Attorney Drew Bradylyons, Tucker was an investment advisor in Roanoke from 2007 through April 2013. In August 2010, Tucker forged the signature of one of her clients, an elderly couple who held a joint account, in order to obtain a line of credit, supposedly for the clients, through her firm’s banking arm. Tucker took these actions without the knowledge or consent of the victim.

Approximately one year later, on August 4, 2011, Tucker caused to be transmitted a wire transfer of $295,000 from the victim’s account to her own account at a local credit union. These funds were used to benefit Tucker and her family. In addition, Tucker took steps to ensure the victims did not learn of the unauthorized transfer by instructing others at her firm to place the victims in an all-electronic delivery system that would send the victim’s account statements by e-mail. Tucker also made false statements to the victims, other employees at the firm and created false documents in order to carry out the scheme.

Additionally, in calendar year 2011, Tucker reported to the Internal Revenue Service a taxable income of $125,333. The defendant has admitted to knowingly failing to report additional taxable income of at least $340,000, which resulted in an additional tax of at least $115,000 being owed to the United States.

At sentencing, Tucker faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on the wire fraud charge and a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on the tax evasion charge.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the Roanoke City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Bubar and Special Assistant United States Attorney Drew Bradylyons are prosecuting the case for the United States.