Former Financial Advisor Charged With $3 Million Ponzi Scheme

An Alabama man who served as a licensed financial advisor for almost fifteen years was charged by authorities with operating a Ponzi scheme that duped innocent investors out of at least $3 million.  Bryan W. Anderson, 40, was charged with one count each of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering.  In a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Anderson agreed to plead guilty to each of the charges.  In addition, Anderson will pay restitution of $3.1 million to defrauded victims and forfeit an equal amount to federal authorities.

Anderson became a licensed financial advisor in 1998, starting his career at MetLife Securities where he worked for nearly fourteen years.  Beginning in 2009, Anderson solicited money from potential investors under various pretenses, including that their funds would be used to invest in stock options and a "box trade hedge fund" that Anderson claimed to manage.  Additionally, Anderson touted outsized returns in property leasing through his company, 360 Properties.  Investors were told that they could achieve returns of up to 20% in short-term investments of 30 - 60 days.  Further, Some investors were led to believe that 360 Properties was affiliated with MetLife - an incorrect assumption that Anderson took no steps to clarify.  In total, Anderson raised over $8 million from family and friends.

However, the funds raised from investors were not used for their promised purpose, but rather were transferred by Anderson into a joint account he maintained with his wife at BancorpSouth bank in Tupelo, Mississippi.  After Anderson left MetLife in February 2012, he joined Pruco Securities, LLC, where he lasted seven months before he was terminated.  Anderson's scheme collapsed in May 2014.  The U.S. government reportedly initiated a forfeiture proceeding against Anderson in July 2014.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled, but Anderson could face decades in prison if sentenced to the maximum prison term for each of the charges.