U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of New Mexico, Apr. 29, 2021
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Richard Kessler, 49, of Albuquerque, who allegedly stole investment funds from his clients, was arraigned April 28 in federal court on an indictment for mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and failure to file tax returns. A federal grand jury indicted Kessler on March 12.
According to the indictment and other court records, Kessler allegedly failed to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2014 through 2017. Kessler operated as a financial advisor and investment broker under the business name Guardian Group Investments, LLC. From on or about Feb. 26, 2016, to Aug. 23, 2016, Kessler allegedly used his position to induce investors into providing him access to investment funds that he diverted to his own benefit and use. Kessler allegedly placed investors’ funds into a business savings account, which is specifically prohibited by New Mexico securities regulations. On several occasions, Kessler moved funds from that account into his personal checking account.
Kessler allegedly fraudulently converted over $123,000 from four victims. Kessler allegedly did not provide the victims with documentation of their investments that would have shown that their money had not been invested as they were told. Kessler allegedly used money from certain victims to pay others to conceal the fraud.
An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Kessler faces up to 20 years in prison.
IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Schied is prosecuting the case.