South Lake Tahoe Investment Broker Sentenced for Stealing from Clients’ Accounts
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 12, 2012|
SACRAMENTO, CA—United States District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. sentenced Lori Zoval, 47, of South Lake Tahoe, today to three years and eight months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling client money while employed as a licensed investment broker with a brokerage firm in Folsom, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. A hearing was scheduled for November 2, 2012, to determine the restitution amount.
According to court documents, Zoval pleaded guilty to using her position of trust to embezzle at least $24,939 from the investment and retirement accounts of her clients between October 2005 and April 2006. At sentencing, however, the court found that Zoval has stolen more than $430,000 from these clients, a married couple close to retirement. At an earlier hearing, the couple testified to the financial and personal devastation the fraud had caused.
At sentencing, the court specifically found that Zoval had fraudulently created documents making it appear that her clients authorized money transfers from their accounts and took steps to lull the victims into believing that she was making legitimate and profitable investments on their behalf. Judge Burrell rejected Zoval’s argument for a sentence of probation, noting that Zoval had “concocted a fraudulent scheme through which she manipulated and stole from the victims” to whom she had ingratiated herself. Judge Burrell continued, “Her actions show a lack of respect for the law and her failure to accept full responsibility for what she did.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Camil A. Skipper, Audrey B. Hemesath, and Robin R. Taylor prosecuted the case.