NORWALK, CONN. -- A Norwalk man who pleaded guilty last year in a $1.6 million Ponzi scheme was sentenced Thursday to more than eight years in federal prison, according Deirdre Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
James E. Neilsen, who had been a certified public accountant until he became inactive in 2012, pleaded guilty in September to one count of wire fraud. He will serve 97 months behind bars, followed by three years of supervised release, Daly said.
Neilsen, who has been free on bond, will remain in home confinement until he reports to prison in March, she said.
Neilsen, who also stole millions from various trusts and estate accounts to which he had access, even ripped off his own 93-year-old great-aunt, Daly said.
U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny found the ill-gotten spoils of Neilsen’s crime spree exceeded $6 million.
A restitution hearing has yet to be scheduled, but about 10 of his victims addressed the court during Thursday’s sentencing hearing. Neilsen’s many victims include his accounting clients, clients of his tax preparation business, friends and members of his family. He even stole from the trusts of children who had lost their father, Daly said.
Daly said Neilsen solicited and received more than $1 million from numerous individuals to invest with Ulysses Partners LLC, an entity in which he was a partner and chief financial officer, or Neilsen Financial Services, an entity he owned and controlled.
Neilsen, she said, promised investors a guaranteed rate of return of 9 to 10.5 percent on their investment and then told them Ulysses Partners or Neilsen Financial Services would invest their money in businesses or business ventures.
Instead, Daly said, Neilsen used much of that money to pay back earlier victim investors and keep some for his personal use.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Greenwich Police Department and the Connecticut Department of Banking and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Huang.
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