Former North Carolina investment advisor loses appeal, judgement affirmed

Published 3:03 pm Sunday, September 26, 2021

Stephen Condon Peters, a former Raleigh investment advisor and owner of Visionquest Wealth Management, lost his appeal September 9 in a per curiam opinion issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. The judgment against Peters, which included a 40-year prison sentence, $15,063,624.30 in restitution and forfeiture of assets, was fully affirmed.

Acting United States Attorney G. Norman Acker III stated, “For years now, the many victims of former investment advisor Stephen Peters have been holding their breath, waiting for any kind of news about the outcome of his appeal, so that they can move on with their lives. Today I am pleased to report that the appeal is over. There were no dissenting votes. Stephen Peters will serve the 40 years imposed upon him. With this result, this office can now resume its efforts to liquidate assets and return them to victims as quickly as possible.”

Peters was convicted on all charges against him in a week-long trial in 2019. “The evidence showed that Peters, in his role as a Registered Investment Advisor, defrauded his numerous clients by steering them into investments in which Peters had a direct financial interest,” stated the release. “He then compounded his crimes by attempting to defraud the SEC with false documents and statements. At sentencing, the judge commented that Peters’s crimes were ‘breathtaking,’ but were proven with a ‘tsunami of evidence.’ In issuing its 40-year sentence, the Court also noted that Peters ‘quadrupled down’ on the crime by, among other things, perjuring himself at trial.”

Acker made the announcement following the issuance of the judgment and opinion by the appellate court. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan represented the United States on the appeal. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore served as the prosecutor. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris represented the United States with respect to forfeiture aspects of the case.

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