BEAUMONT, Texas – A 67-year-old Houston man has been sentenced to federal prison for violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Lawrence Allen DeShetler pleaded guilty on June 8, 2017, to mail fraud and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. DeShetler was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $926,809.18.
According to information presented in court, DeShetler has been a certified financial planner (CFP) and investment advisor since 1994, and has been president of DeShetler & Company, Inc. since 1988. In his capacity as a CFP and investment advisor, DeShetler would advise clients on investment strategies and act as a broker for financial products, such as annuities and insurance policies. However, beginning in 2014, DeShetler began soliciting funds from clients by convincing them they could see higher returns on their money if they allowed him to invest it. Based on DeShetler’s advice, the clients then withdrew money from their existing investment accounts and gave him the proceeds. DeShetler then deposited the funds in bank accounts in his name and under his exclusive control, and then used the money for his personal benefit. In total, DeShetler fraudulently obtained $1,907,003.71 from five clients, including two from the Jefferson/Orange county area of the Eastern District of Texas.
“Consumers must have confidence that financial advisors are looking out for the interest of their clients,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “When this breach of trust occurs, not only do the victims lose, but the public also suffers through concern and worry that their money is not being reasonably safeguarded by these professionals. This community has fine trustworthy professionals to call upon for financial assistance. But DeShetler is not one of them, and he will be justly punished for his greed.”
“The resolution of this case speaks volumes about the commitment of the U.S Attorney’s Office to the prosecution of criminals who attempt to quickly abscond with money investors have earned over a lifetime of hard work,” said Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas State Securities Board, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, and Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.