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Stillwater investment adviser gets 74 months in prison for stealing from clients

11/23/2016 8:52:52 AM

SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that a Stillwater man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court to 74 months in prison for stealing from the clients of his investment advisory business.

Levi David Lindemann, 40, pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal mail fraud and money laundering charges. The case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau, Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS and the FBI.

“Lindemann abused his position of trust as a financial adviser to steal from his clients, including the elderly,” said Rothman, whose agency investigates investment and insurance fraud. “Lindemann defrauded his victims by promising to put their money in legitimate, safe investments when he actually used the funds to pay for personal expenses and Ponzi-type payments to other clients to cover up and continue his fraud.”

According to his guilty plea, between 2009 and 2014, Lindemann owned and operated Gershwin Financial, Inc., an investment management company that did business under the name, Alternative Wealth Solutions (AWS). Through AWS, Lindemann provided financial planning and asset management services, and sold insurance annuities and investment products to clients in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

According to his guilty plea, Lindemann used AWS to solicit investor funds from approximately 50 investor clients. He encouraged his clients to surrender their retirement accounts to him so he could invest funds on their behalf.

Lindemann persuaded clients to entrust him with their money by falsely representing that he would use the invested funds to buy secured notes or other legitimate investment vehicles. 

Instead of investing their money as promised, Lindemann used the funds to pay personal expenses, convert the investments to cash for his own use, purchase a luxury sport utility vehicle and make Ponzi-type payments of promised returns to other investors.

According to his guilty plea, Lindemann took steps to conceal his fraudulent activity and lull his clients by creating counterfeit secured notes to serve as proof of their investments.

Commerce is here to help

If you have questions or concerns about a potential fraud or scam, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-857-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

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