Shane Selewach, a former Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. broker, has been convicted of stealing nearly $335,000 from clients and sentenced to 8-12 years in prison for broker misconduct. Selewach’s misconduct includes six counts of larceny, six counts of securities fraud and conducting business as an unregistered broker dealer.
Selewach was employed with Ameriprise from September 1997 until he was fired in April 2006. In February of 2008, he was permanently barred from acting as a securities broker by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. His broker misconduct took place between July 2005 and November 2008, during which time he stole nearly $350,000 from six victims. For the last nine months of this time period, he was barred from being a broker but continued to operate as one regardless. Selewach led investors to believe that he was investing their money in hedge funds, commodities and real estate, but in reality he was using it for personal benefit including travel, mortgage payments and sporting event tickets.
During the trial, Selewach’s defense argued that the monies he received were loans rather than “high-interest-rate investments,” according to the Cape Cod Times. Selewach himself testified to this effect. However, victims of his crimes testified otherwise. One of his victims, Patricia Conti, lost more than $150,000 to Selewach. Conti testified that Selewach did not disclose that his departure from Ameriprise was a result of termination, that he continually pressured her and that he asked her to sign documents which she was unable to read fully because they were largely concealed from view.
Conti further testified that at one point, Selewach came to her home with a $30,000/30-day investment opportunity which he said would yield 19 percent interest. Though she told him no, he appeared at her residence, uninvited, multiple times to pressure her about the investment. She finally relented and upon asking for her returns after 30 days, Selewach replied that he said 30 days but actually meant 60 days. When Conti received a letter from the Massachusetts Securities Division asking her about a “loan,” she contacted Selewach, who then said “to go along with the testimony or your money would be in jeopardy.” Fearing financial ruin, Conti did as Selewach instructed.
Originally arrested in September 2009, Selewach now faces 8-12 years in prison followed by another 10 years of probation, during which he is barred from working as a financial custodian or fiduciary. In addition to his prison sentence and probation, Selewach is required to pay full restitution, totaling $335,000, to his victims.