An Indiana financial advisor has pleaded guilty to misappropriating more than $4.5 million from a client and blowing much of it on a sports gambling habit.
Christopher Turean, an advisor formerly employed at Carmel, Indiana-based Valeo Financial Advisors, admitted on Nov. 13 to wire fraud and filing false tax statements over allegations that he had illegally moved $4,692,500 out of a client’s account. Much of that money, ostensibly earmarked for investments in real estate, went toward bets placed on the sports-gambling apps DraftKings and FanDuel. About $1 million of the total was used to pay down a home equity line of credit on Turean’s house in Fishers, Indiana, according to a criminal complaint also filed on Nov. 13 in federal court in Indianapolis.
Turean was at Valeo Financial Advisors from 2012 to 2022, according to SEC records. He is believed to have started his fraud in July 2019 and to have concealed his misdeeds from Valeo.
He was fired in February 2022 over suspicions that he misappropriated customer money. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, whose marks are considered the gold standard for conduct in the industry, announced in September that his CFP certification had been revoked.
Attempts to reach Valeo Financial Advisors and Turean’s lawyer, Eric Massey of the Indianapolis-based firm Banks & Brower, were unsuccessful Monday. As part of his plea deal, Massey agreed to pay back the $4,692,500 in restitution to his victim. He also owes the Internal Revenue Service $1,725,246 for filing false tax statements and neglecting to count the money he had embezzled as income.
The crime of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Filing false tax statements carries three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release.