Chris Yoo, 44, ran Summit Asset Strategies, an investment company based in Bellevue. He used some clients’ cash to cover his personal and business expenses.
Bellevue investment adviser Chris Yoo on Monday pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making false statements, admitting to having diverted millions of dollars from clients to bankroll his lifestyle and his own business. Yoo also admitted having misled the Securities and Exchange Commission in a previous investigation.
Yoo, 44, ran Summit Asset Strategies, an investment company based in Bellevue, which operated two funds, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement. Realizing that management fees wouldn’t be enough to support himself or the company, Yoo began using cash that he was supposed to be investing on behalf of clients. The scheme cost 17 investors nearly $3.7 million.
Yoo even kept soliciting investors after reaching a settlement with the SEC in 2015 in which he was ordered to repay some money and stop committing fraud, the Justice Department says.
Yoo faces sentencing on June 22. Both the prosecution and the defense will recommend an 80-month prison term.
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Dave Neuman, an attorney representing several of Yoo’s clients, said the guilty plea “is not surprising.”
“While punishment is warranted, I hope that he will cooperate with the authorities and bring some (albeit small) closure for the many victims that have been severely impacted by this scheme,” he said in a statement.