Bail Set at $500,000 For Stock Broker
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Bail was set at $500,000 Friday for a 23-year-old stockbroker-millionaire accused of falsifying $47 million in stock trading slips and whose assets have been frozen.
U.S. Magistrate Ann Vitunac, who set bail for Leslie Howard Roberts, also ordered that Roberts will have to show in court where he obtains any money he uses for bond.
But Roberts’ attorney, Robert Hertzberg, said Roberts doesn’t and will not have money for the bond.
″There’s no way we can raise that,″ Hertzberg said.
Roberts, who was arrested by the FBI and charged with mail fraud Feb. 14, reportedly has a $1.5 million home, a Lear jet and nine cars plus interests in dozens of companies.
Those assets, however, have been frozen by circuit court order and cannot be used or sold until the case is resolved.
His attorneys testified that a rough estimation of Roberts’ financial status for the past three years showed $1.8 million in income and about $2.5 million in expenses and assets purchased, leaving about $700,000 unaccounted for.
In addition, U.S. Attorney Neil Karadbil said the FBI also is trying to trace $3.3 million that it can’t account for in computer records of Roberts’ stock transactions.
″You may find you’re going to have trouble with the IRS also,″ Ms. Vitunac told Roberts.
FBI investigator James Cavanaugh testified earlier in the hearing that Roberts sent his major client, his great-uncle Frank Gory, stock slips showing his investments were worth $55 million when they were worth only $8.2 million.
Investigators said Roberts falsified the slips to convince Gory to make more transactions, boosting Roberts’ commissions.
Karadbil had argued for a higher bail, saying: ″At this point there’s nothing for him to stay for.″
Roberts’ mother, his father-in-law and other relatives were willing to pledge property worth as much as $180,000 toward bond, Hertzberg said, but neither the family nor Roberts could gather $500,000.
Roberts dropped out of college to go into movie theater management and started with a penny stock firm in 1983. He convinced his great-uncle to give him his stock account. Gory had founded a successful tile company, sold it, and used the money to play the stock market.
Former colleagues said Roberts used Gory’s hefty account to demand 50 percent commissions from the First Interwest Securities firm, and parlayed it into a job with E.F. Hutton, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.
He was E.F. Hutton’s top broker in his first year, then last November joined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in Boca Raton. Roberts was reportedly earning $2 million a year.