Englewood financial adviser arrested on charges of $730,000 securities fraud
DENVER — Englewood resident William Gardner, 57, was taken into custody Wednesday, December 23 on charges that include four counts of securities fraud, five counts of theft of $20,000 or more, one count of theft of $5,000-$20,000, and two counts of theft of $500 or more from an at-risk victim. All are felony charges.
The arrest was the result of a case brought by the Colorado Attorney General’s office and an investigation carried out by the Colorado Division of Securities, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
The indictment alleges that in 2008, Gardner created a business, Gardner Advisory Services, LLC, that offered retirement planning, financial advice, and life insurance to clients. However, despite holding an insurance broker license, Gardner never acquired the necessary license to advise or sell other financial products that fall under the legal requirements of the Colorado Securities Act.
Furthermore, it was alleged that Gardner failed to disclose to his clients that he was in a large degree of debt, having declared bankruptcy in 2006, received six notices of mortgage default between 2005 and 2015, and been called to respond to a number of unsatisfied financial judgments from individuals as well as the Internal Revenue Service.
Finally, it is alleged that Gardner failed to disclose that funds accepted from investors were used to pay returns to prior clients, as well as for his own personal expenditures.
“Perhaps the two most important parts of the regulation of securities professionals are proper licensure and adequate disclosure of facts that any reasonable investor would want to have before him/her before making financial decisions,” Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome stated. “It is easy for investors to call us to find out whether their financial adviser is properly licensed with us.”
A Colorado State Grand Jury Indictment filed by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office lists the total amount of funds used by Gardner for personal and non-investment related expenditures as $730,602.73.
Please note: The filing of a criminal charge is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime under Colorado laws. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.