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Local financial advisor going to prison for 17 years

RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today JOSEPH A. LEONARD, 44, was sentenced by United State District Judge Earl Britt to 17 and a half years of imprisonment; 3 years supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment and $996,984.80 in restitution.

On May 7, 2012, LEONARD pled guilty to securities fraud, in violation of Title 15, United States Code, Section 75j(b), and Title 17, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 240.10-b5.

LEONARD, a former resident of Southport, North Carolina, was a financial advisor who owned and operated Coastal Investment Advisors and Leonard Capital Management. Additionally, he was the author of Your Money, Your Rights, Your Retirement, published in 2006 and the Retirement Vault, published in 2008.

An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined that LEONARD forged stock certificates of a company known as Proton Therapies, USA (PT-USA). Subsequently, without the prior knowledge or authorization of the CEO and Board of Directors of PT-USA, LEONARD sold these forged stock certificates, purportedly worth $1,600,000.00, to 55 individuals — including members of his own family — in the Wilmington, North Carolina area and elsewhere. LEONARD sold forged stock certificates to the 55 victims in this case, and pocketed the cash for himself.

Additionally, LEONARD committed a parallel investment fraud scheme, selling fake certificates of deposit (CD’s), purportedly offering an annual interest rate of 4.05%. Leonard sold in excess of $996,000.00 in these fake CD’s to ten individuals in the Wilmington, North Carolina area, and elsewhere. As part of this fraud scheme, LEONARD sent these individuals false monthly account statements showing regular growth in these CD’s. In fact in and in truth, these CD’s did not exist and LEONARD had pocketed the cash for himself.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal; Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Evan Rikhye is serving as prosecutor for the government.

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