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South Lake Tahoe Investment Broker Pleads Guilty to Stealing From Clients’ Investment and Retirement Accounts

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 21, 2011
  • Eastern District of California (916) 554-2700

SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Lori Zoval, 46, of South Lake Tahoe, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud for embezzling client money while employed as an independent contractor with a brokerage firm in Folsom. As part of the plea agreement, Zoval has agreed to pay restitution.

According to court documents, Zoval used her position of trust to embezzle at least $24,939 from the investment and retirement accounts of her clients between October 2005 and April 2006. Zoval admitted to stealing funds by explaining to her clients that she was setting up tax shelters that required her to transfer funds into the names of third parties she called “provisional employees.” To facilitate the transfer of funds, Zoval fraudulently created documents making it appear that her clients authorized the money transfers. Zoval took steps to lull the victims into believing that she was making legitimate and profitable investments by sending falsified account statements reflecting inflated returns and balances.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robin Taylor, Camil A. Skipper and Audrey B. Hemesath are prosecuting the case.

Zoval is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on January 6, 2012. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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