HELENA, Mont. – After a two-day bench trial held October 25th and 26th in Helena, Lewis and Clark District Court Judge Kathy Seeley, found Arthur Leroy Heffelfinger guilty of Exploitation of an Older Person. Monica J. Lindeen, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI), commends her legal team for their hard work in prosecuting the defendant. Lindeen further hopes this verdict will send a strong message that her office will prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law.
In her ruling, Judge Seeley concluded that Heffelfinger stole money from his victim, Mary Parr, by deception and fraud. Judge Seeley also concluded that Heffelfinger acted purposely or knowingly when he unreasonably used Mary Parr to obtain control of and divert her money by means of deception and fraud with the result of permanently depriving her of her property.
After an extensive investigation by Lindeen’s office, Heffelfinger, a former stockbroker for KMS Financial Services, was charged with operating a Ponzi scheme for a period of at least 8 years, for Theft, and for Exploiting an Older Person. The charging documents alleged that Heffelfinger diverted funds from at least twenty KMS clients from February 2001 through September 2009, using approximately $739,724 for his own personal use, approximately $917,777 for the purpose of conducting the Ponzi scheme, and approximately $364,044 when exploiting the older person, for a collective total of $2,021,546.
In July 2010, Heffelfinger entered guilty pleas to the charges of operating a Ponzi scheme and Theft but claimed his innocence to the elder exploitation charge.
The elder exploitation charge involved Heffelfinger’s exploitation of Mary Parr, an elderly woman who resided at the Waterford senior living facility in Helena. Mary Parr was a nurse and spent much of her life working as a missionary in Africa. In 1999, Mary and her husband, Monte, moved to Helena to be close to their daughter, Polly Robertson, because Monte had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Shortly after moving to Helena, Mary and Monte hired Heffelfinger as their financial advisor. Almost immediately, Heffelfinger began stealing the elderly couple’s money. Monte died in 2002 from Alzheimer’s disease and Mary died in 2009, at the age of 97, from advanced dementia. Between 2001 and 2009, Heffelfinger stole at least $364,044 from Mary Parr, taking the bulk of her estate.
In August 2010, Lindeen’s office reached an agreement with KMS Financial Services, the broker-dealer firm Heffelfinger represented. In the agreement, KMS agreed to pay in excess of $975,000 in restitution to Heffelfinger’s victims.
“This case involved a very elderly woman, a missionary, someone who devoted her life to others and who was selfless in her service,” said Commissioner Lindeen. “Judge Seeley’s ruling should send a message that my office will do what it takes to protect people like Mary Parr from predators like Arthur Heffelfinger.”
Heffelfinger’s sentencing will be held in Judge Seeley’s courtroom on December 8, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. Heffelfinger faces a possible sentence of 30 years incarceration, $200,000 in fines as well as restitution to KMS Financial Services for the money it paid to Heffelfinger’s victims.