Financial adviser pleads guilty to $21M Ponzi scheme

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island financial adviser has pleaded guilty to orchestrating a $21 million Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Providence says 47-year-old Patrick Churchville of Barrington pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to five counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud. Sentencing is set for October.

Authorities say Churchville ran the Ponzi scheme between 2008 and 2011 as owner and president of ClearPath Wealth Management, stole $2.5 million of investor’s funds to buy a waterfront home in Barrington and failed to pay more than $820,000 in personal federal income taxes.

Prosecutors say Churchville and his company hid losses in investments by paying clients in those investments with money from new investors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a civil action against Churchville.

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