South Tahoe woman pleads guilty to wire fraud
October 25, 2011
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A South Lake Tahoe investment broker has pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud for embezzling about $25,000 from investors, according to a Friday statement from federal prosecutors.
Lori Zoval, 46, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors last week and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the statement.
“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,” according to the statement.
According to prosecutors, 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,” according to the statement. “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.”
The embezzlement happened while Zoval was employed as an independent contractor with a brokerage firm in Folsom.
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Her attorney, Mark Reichel, did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
As part of the plea agreement, Zoval has agreed to pay restitution.