Los Angeles, California - A former Ameriprise financial advisor faces federal fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly defrauding clients by embezzling funds that she promised would be invested, United States Attorney Nicola T. Hanna announced Thursday.
Li Lin Hsu, 40, of Diamond Bar, was arrested Wednesday morning by special agents with the FBI.
Hsu was taken into custody pursuant to an eight-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury the day before. The indictment charges Hsu with three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of obstruction of justice.
Over a five-year period, while she was employed by Ameriprise and after her termination from Ameriprise in 2015, Hsu solicited investments from clients through, among other ways, advertisements in local Chinese-language newspapers. According to the indictment, Hsu failed to invest her clients’ funds, and instead spent the money on personal expenses, such as credit card bills, personal loans, luxury items and real estate. The money laundering charge in the indictment alleges that Hsu used nearly $1 million stolen from one victim to purchase a condominium in Diamond Bar.
The indictment alleges that Hsu attempted to conceal her scheme by using some of the money stolen from victims to pay back other victims, and that she sent her clients fabricated account statements and investment purchase confirmations.
The indictment alleges that there are at least 11 victims of Hsu, and investigators believe those victims sustained losses of at least $2 million.
Following her arrest, Hsu was arraigned on the indictment in United States District Court, where she pleaded not guilty. Hsu was ordered released on a $50,000 bond, and she was ordered to stand trial on June 12 before United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford in Santa Ana.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Hsu would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on each of the fraud counts, 10 years on the money laundering count, and 5 years on the obstruction of justice charge.
Investors who provided money to Hsu and believe they were defrauded through her actions at Ameriprise or her own companies – American Capital Trading Group LLC and American Capital Republic, Inc. – should contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Poonam Kumar of the Major Frauds Section.