Financial adviser on trial accused of spending client funds
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The trial of a Connecticut financial adviser charged with stealing from his clients has started.
A federal prosecutor said in court Monday that Leon Vaccarelli spent client funds intended for investments on personal mortgage payments, a summer rental and his children’s school tuition.
The Republican-American reports that Vaccarelli belonged to a Waterbury investment firm and faces 21 charges that include securities, wire and mail fraud.
Former clients testified Vaccarelli told them their investments would see modest gains.
Instead, their money went missing.
Some entrusted all their retirement funds to him.
Vaccarelli’s attorney said in court his client is an alcoholic and that the disease controlled his life.
He said Vaccarelli “had no criminal intent because of alcoholism.”
Testimony was continuing Tuesday.
Vaccarelli is free on $100,000 bond.