James Kenneth Couture, 42, of Sutton, Massachusetts, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton on Wednesday to 100 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Couture was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,924,585 and forfeiture of $2,874,585.
In September 2022, Couture pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of investment adviser fraud, and one count of witness tampering.
Couture was a registered investment adviser with an office in Worcester. In that capacity, he invested his clients’ funds in securities and various insurance products, including annuities, and set up and assisted clients with profit-sharing plans and other retirement products.
From approximately 2009 to 2020, Couture misappropriated approximately $2.8 million from his clients by transferring funds out of his clients’ accounts, investing it in fictitious mutual funds and then selling other clients’ holdings to pay investment returns.
In June 2016, Couture liquidated one client’s variable annuities to fund withdrawals by another client.
Similarly, in December 2019 and January 2020, Couture paid a client he had previously defrauded by selling other clients’ mutual funds.
As part of his scheme, Couture forged clients’ signatures on documents or caused clients to sign documents by falsely representing that the proceeds of transactions would be used for the clients’ benefit. Couture also stole from clients using their own profit-sharing plans and conducting transactions in their names to disguise his fraudulent transactions.