An Aspen man who once worked as a stockbroker and investment advisor was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million from an elderly client and the client’s heirs.
Michael D. Montgomery, 44, was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service after U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan said there was a “high probability that Montgomery stole from his victims for seven years, beginning in 2001,” says a U.S. attorney’s office press release.
“Montgomery’s theft devastated the client’s heirs, leaving them with little while Montgomery continued to live a high-flying lifestyle in Aspen training to be an elite triathlete,” the release says.
Montgomery, who will also be on probation for three years after his release, pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud and filing a false tax return.
Montgomery was a licensed stockbroker and investment advisor in the Tacoma, Wash., area until 2009, when the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions revoked his registration as a securities dealer for unethical conduct. He then moved to Aspen while he was under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
According to the plea agreement filed in the case, Montgomery was first an investment advisor for an elderly man residing in the Tacoma area, and later became the trustee of the man’s living trust. Montgomery also had power of attorney for the victim.
Between 2003 and 2007, Montgomery misappropriated a substantial amount of money from the elderly man’s bank and investment accounts after he entered a nursing home. From 2005 through 2007, Montgomery sent by wire $654,600 from his client’s Charles Schwab account to his client’s Key Bank account.
He then took the money and used it for his own benefit, according to the IRS. From January 2004 and July 2006, Montgomery wrote $598,916 in checks to himself from his client’s accounts, purportedly for services to his client. Following the 90-year-old man’s death in July 2006, Montgomery wrote an additional $243,745 in checks to himself from the client’s estate, purportedly for “estate services.”
Montgomery never provided the victim’s family with any accounting of what the services entailed, according to the IRS. He billed the man’s family for such things as buying his client tobacco and driving the man’s truck, according to court documents.
He also failed to report any of the money on his federal income tax returns.
“Montgomery is nonchalant about his fraud, displaying a slick indifference for what he has done,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
Agents with the IRS learned that Montgomery was living in Aspen during their investigation, said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Western District of Washington. He was arrested here in February 2011.
“He was living under his own name, etc. — there was no indication it was an attempt to hide,” she said in an email.
The amount of restitution Montgomery owes will be decided at a Jan. 25, 2013, hearing.