May 10, 2021
Louisville, Kentucky resident Christopher L. Hibbard recently submitted an Offer of Settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after pleading guilty to one count investment advisor fraud and nine counts of wire fraud in a federal court on June 30, 2020.
Hibbard admitted in his plea to facilitating approximately $1,226,995 through at least 65 Automated Clearing House (ACH) or other wire transfers from the brokerage account of a customer between February 2007 and December 2008. Hibbard admitted to misappropriating the funds, using most of the sum total for personal use. Hibbard also admitted to hiding this fraudulent activity by providing fictitious brokerage statements to make this individual believe there was more than $4 million in the account. During the time period relevant to this misconduct, Hibbard was associated with Morgan Keegan & Company in Louisville, Kentucky.
The SEC Order also notes that between January 2011 and December 2017, Hibbard initiated over 300 unauthorized ACH transfers, totaling over $3 million, from client accounts that he managed to an American Express account he controlled. Hibbard admitted to making unauthorized withdrawals from client annuity accounts, engaging in unauthorized trading and liquidation of clients’ investments, and committing acts of forgery to execute this fraudulent scheme. Hibbard was associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith during this time period, until he was discharged in January 2018 associated with these allegations of theft and unauthorized transactions.
Based on the foregoing, the SEC barred Christopher Hibbard from associating with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, or other securities related business or position, and barred him from participating in any offering of a penny stock. On December 16, 2020, a federal judge sentenced Hibbard to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a special assessment of $1,000.