- Associated Press - Thursday, August 10, 2017

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A former Bismarck securities and insurance agent accused of defrauding investors out of more than $3 million is facing criminal charges in federal court.

The case against Kevin Wanner was unveiled in a civil matter a year ago when the government sought to freeze funds from the sale of private property. He was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on charges of mail fraud and money laundering. Court documents don’t show whether Wanner entered a plea.

Investigators say Wanner devised the scheme in about 2000 and it lasted to about 2015. In that time, according to the indictment, Wanner bilked money from about 40 people and “used the money from the shame investments for his personal use, as well as to pay to his defrauded investment clients to further the appearance that their investments were legitimate.”

Jeffrey Weikum, Wanner’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Prosecutors declined to comment.

An investigation by the North Dakota Securities Department accuses Wanner of selling counterfeit CDs to his clients and recruiting them to an investment group called the Bulls and Bears Investment Club. He allegedly made $5 million and paid out about $1.8 million he said was interest payments earned on the CDs.

The probe alleges that one victim invested $500,000 with Wanner and received yearly interest checks of $3,000 to $4,000. The victim said Wanner would roll the matured CD into a new one, but she never received a federal form for interest paid.

Wanner is accused of making cash withdrawals from his business accounts nearly every other day, withdrawing on average $15,355 per month.

Trial is scheduled for Oct. 3 in Bismarck.

The government is seeking to sequester funds from the sale of a house that was owned by Wanner and his wife. The civil complaint also says proceeds of the planned sale of a 2011 Ford Convertible Mustang should be forfeited to the government.


Follow Dave Kolpack on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DaveKolpackAP

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