Kalispell Man Sentenced in Ponzi Scheme

By Beacon Staff

A former broker who bilked Flathead Valley investors out of nearly $200,000 has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay just over $210,000 in restitution for felony embezzlement and securities fraud.

The Daily Inter Lake reports Donald Chouinard of Kalispell was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison with all but 30 days suspended during a hearing before District Judge Katherine Curtis.

Prosecutors say Chouinard, a former independent broker for LPL Financial Corp., used a Ponzi scheme to steal $187,000 from three investors from September 2008 to June 2009.

State regulators say he also made unauthorized trades on customers’ accounts during the five years he worked for LPL, causing customers to lose money and generating nearly $250,000 in commissions.

LPL paid $1.3 million in restitution and a $150,000 fine.

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