The sentencing of a former securities and insurance agent on July 23, 2018, illustrates that, in time, a scheme to defraud innocent people will be discovered. However, in the case of Kevin Wanner, the argument put forth by the defense kept Wanner from having to serve the maximum sentence possible.

What happened

Between 2000 and 2015, Kevin Wanner of Bismarck, ND, worked for two separate brokerage companies based out of Minnesota. During that 15-year period, he bilked some 40 clients out of millions of dollars, using the money to enjoy a lifestyle that included country club membership, expensive sports cars and private schooling for his children. Wanner took in about $5 million, kept $3 million for himself and paid the remainder out to his victims to keep the scheme going.

The court action

The attorney for Mr. Wanner explained to the court that his client had a gambling addiction, which fueled the Ponzi scheme he created. The defendant’s addiction counselor testified that “he did a bad thing as a result of his illness.” In a plea with prosecutors, Wanner pleaded guilty to money laundering and mail fraud. He could have received up to 30 years in prison, but instead will serve 11. The North Dakota Securities Department arranged for a settlement of $3 million from the two brokerage companies to be paid to the victims. The judge ordered Wanner to pay $3 million to the government.

Looking ahead

There are many kinds of fraud besides mail fraud: bank, tax, health care and government fraud, to name a few. A patient, ongoing investigation that may take years may eventually lead to the perpetrator of a crime who will often be penalized with a prison term. The job of a criminal defense attorney is to thoroughly examine the circumstances surrounding the crime, look at all the available options and put her or his extensive experience to use building a defense that will bring about the best outcome possible for the defendant.