A Fairfield County man who served as a financial adviser at two investment banks in Manhattan has admitted to defrauding clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Elias Herbert Hafen, 64, of New Canaan, pleaded guilty one count of wire fraud and will face up to five years in prison, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced. Hafen was taken into custody and appeared in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, Sept. 4, where he pleaded guilty.
Between 2013 and 2018, Hafen defrauded at least 11 of his financial advisory clients into believing he had access to a high-yield investment fund with guaranteed returns that had no ties to either of the banks he worked for.
On Hafen’s advice, his clients transferred hundreds of dollars directly to Hafen’s personal bank account for investing. Hafen also created fictitious “Investor’s Statements” bearing the name of a non-existent investment company with the purpose of showing his victims’ faux investments.
In reality, there was no investment fund at all and Hafen was “using the victims’ funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle including custom men’s accessories and an expensive collection of artwork,” Berman said.
“Elias Hafen promised his investment clients significant returns in a ‘special’ fund. With fake statements and guaranteed returns, Hafen was every investor’s worst nightmare,” Berman said. “He never invested his clients’ money and instead used it to fund his own lavish lifestyle. Today, Hafen admitted his crimes and he will soon likely spend time in prison for his misdeeds.
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