Lawrence Allen DeShetler, an investment adviser and former certified financial planner in The Woodlands, pleaded guilty to mail fraud June 8 in U.S. District Court in Beaumont.
DeShetler fraudulently obtained $1.9 million from five clients of his advisory business, DeShetler & Company Inc. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years at sentencing. The date has not been set.
In connection with the plea agreement, DeShetler will not contest that a State of Texas administrative law case that the Texas State Securities Board filed to revoke his registration as an investment adviser.
According to the Information filed in federal court, DeShetler advised clients on investment strategies and financial planning. In 2014, he started urging clients to withdraw money from their investments and give him the proceeds so he could earn higher returns than they were getting.
Instead of investing their money, DeShetler placed the funds into a bank account over which he had sole authority.
In a Factual Basis and Stipulation filed in U.S. District Court on June 8, DeShetler admitted using money from one investor to start construction on a house in Nicaragua.
DeShetler also convinced an 83-year-old client in Pearland to liquidate an existing trust account and transfer $187,699 to him so he could earn better returns. The client's husband died in late 2015, and in May 2016 the woman allowed DeShetler to stay at her home while she visited her son. When she returned six weeks later, all of her investment documents were missing and DeShetler had left, according to the stipulation.