HELENA, Mont. – Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen today welcomed news that Anne Marie Schlenker, a 31-year-old former financial adviser from Bozeman, was ordered to pay $265,000 in restitution and spend 15 months in prison for using her clients’ money to buy jewelry, pay for part of a new house she was building, and to cover up her fraud.
“I am glad this case has been put to rest, and that Schlenker will be paying for her crime,” said Lindeen. “This case highlights how important it is to keep a close eye on your brokerage statements and to call my office at the first sign something might be wrong. Schemes like this are bound to collapse. When they do, it’s not just the perpetrator who gets caught in a tight space – ordinary investors can see their financial future vanish into thin air. But thanks to a new law we passed in Montana, we’ll soon have a fund paid for by firms and individuals that have violated the Montana Securities Act to help make defrauded investors whole again. Ninety-nine percent of all investment broker-dealers and securities salespeople are upstanding and honest, but you can keep yourself safe from the bad apples by doing your due diligence and checking with my office if something seems suspicious.”
The investigation and subsequent prosecution of Schlenker was a joint effort between Lindeen’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition to her 15-month prison sentence and court-ordered restitution, Schlenker will spend three years under supervised release, one year of which will be under house arrest.
Schlenker worked as an investment adviser representative and salesperson for Edward Jones in Bozeman. From October 2006 to February 2010, Schlenker misappropriated nearly $330,000 of her clients’ money for her personal use. In one instance, Schlenker transferred close to $64,000 from one client’s account to another to cover up money that she had taken.
Edward Jones fired Schlenker after she confessed in February 2010 that she took money from client accounts. Because Edward Jones previously agreed to pay restitution to the clients Schlenker defrauded, Schlenker’s court-ordered restitution will be paid back to her former firm.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, Schlenker will likely serve the full duration of her sentence. The federal system allows a sentence reduction for good behavior, but the reduction cannot exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.