Massachusetts Investment Adviser James K. Couture Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay Restitution for Misappropriating Millions from Clients

James K. Couture was a Massachusetts-based investment advisor who has received a final judgment from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Couture was involved in a deceptive plan to misappropriate $2.9million from unaware clients.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Couture operated a brokerage and investment advisory firm from approximately 2009 until December 2019. In this period, Couture allegedly defrauded his advisory clients by convincing them to sell a portion of their holdings in securities, with the false promise that the proceeds will be reinvested into their account. Couture, unknown to his clients at the time, owned and controlled the company to which the funds were transferred. According to the complaint Couture had the true intention of diverting funds for himself. Couture, when clients requested withdrawals from their accounts, allegedly used assets belonging to other advisory clients in order to replace the stolen money, thereby disguising his misappropriation by using third-party account.

Couture agreed to a judgment final that bars him permanently from violating future antifraud provisions. These provisions include Section 10b of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933 and Rule 10b-5 as well as Sections 206.1 and 206.2 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1980.

Couture, along with the SEC, has also pleaded to ten criminal charges, including investment advisor fraud, in an unrelated case brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts. He was sentenced to a 100-month prison term, followed by three years’ supervision. Couture also had to pay $1.924,585 restitution, and $2.874,585 forfeiture.

Moreover, the SEC issued an order prohibiting Couture from associating himself with various financial entities including brokers, dealers and investment advisers. Also, he is prohibited from participating to the offering of penny shares.

A team of the SEC Boston Regional Office is handling the case. The team consists of Rory Alex and Robert Baker. Jennifer Cardello, William Donahue and Richard Harper II are also involved. The SEC would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office of District of Massachusetts, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service for their help in this case.

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Securities and Exchange Commission is the regulatory body that enforces and oversees securities laws in the United States. The primary purpose of the SEC is to protect investors and maintain fair, efficient, and transparent markets. SEC achieves its objectives by regulating the securities exchanges, dealers and brokers, investment advisers, and mutual fund companies. In addition, it requires companies to provide financial and other relevant data to the general public. This promotes transparency and helps prevent fraudulent activity. SEC also takes legal action and investigates individuals or companies that violate securities laws. Overall, the SEC has a vital role to play in maintaining integrity and stability of U.S. financial market.

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