12/22/2015 3:43:46 PM
For Immediate Release:
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the indictment of Levi David Lindemann, 39, for stealing more than $2.5 million from investment advisory clients.* Lindemann is charged with mail fraud and money laundering. He is expected to make an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.
“People entrusted their savings to Mr. Lindemann based on his promise to invest their money and help them save for retirement,” said Assistant United States Attorney Joseph H. Thompson. “But, as charged, Mr. Lindemann abused that trust in order to steal his clients’ money and enrich himself at their expense. After receiving a tip from one of Mr. Lindemann’s victims, agents from the IRS, FBI, and Minnesota Department of Commerce worked together to ensure that he will be held to account for his actions.”
“As the charges allege, Levi Lindemann abused his position of trust as a financial adviser to steal from his clients, including elderly individuals,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Lindemann promised clients he would put their money in legitimate and safe investments. Instead, he used the funds to pay for personal expenses while also making Ponzi- type payments to other clients to cover up and continue his fraud.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation, along with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney's Office, remain vigilant in identifying, investigating and prosecuting those individuals who seek to willfully defraud their clients,” stated IRS CI Special Agent in Charge Shea Jones. “Today's indictment of Levi Lindemann should serve as a strong warning to those who are considering similar fraudulent conduct.”
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, 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 the indictment and documents filed in court, Lindemann used AWS to solicit approximately $4.3 million in investor funds from approximately 50 investor clients. Lindemann encouraged his clients to surrender to him their retirement accounts so that he could invest funds on their behalf. Lindemann induced 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 into legitimate investment vehicles, Lindemann used the invested funds to pay personal expenses, convert the investments to cash for his own use, purchasing at least one vehicle and to make Ponzi-type payments of promised returns to other investors.
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, Lindemann took steps to conceal his fraudulent activity and lull investor-clients by creating counterfeit secured notes and providing them to investor-clients as proof of their investment. Lindemann also used some of the investment funds that he stole to make monthly payments to investor-clients, which were intended to appear to be monthly interest payments accruing from legitimate investments.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau, Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph H. Thompson.
Levi David Lindemann, 39
Mail fraud, 1 count
Money laundering, 1 count
* The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.