BOSTON — A former Laconia man has pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of obstruction of justice for misdirecting $15 million from a mutual fund he has managed since he was in graduate school at Harvard University.
Daniel Thibeault, 41, of 881 Waltham St. in Framingham faces as much as 30 years in federal prison for securities fraud and 20 years in federal prison for obstruction of justice.
According to his plea agreement submitted on March 3 to the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Thibeault agreed to serve a total of 15 years in prison. Six of the eight other charges against him, including wire fraud, identity theft, and aiding and abetting, were dismissed.
He will be sentenced formally on June 16 and the judge is under no obligation to accept his plea.
According to a media release from the Assistant U.S. Attorneys Office, Thibeault was the owner of Graduate Leverage, LLC, which is an asset company he founded sometime before 2004.
He was also the co-portfolio manager of the GL Beyond Income Fund that was offered in 2012 that professed to invest in loans to individuals who were "'less susceptible to economic downturns like medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, attorneys and business owners.'"
Beginning in 2013, Thibeault caused the fund to issue dozens of loans with hundreds of thousands of dollars in value in the names of individuals who were his personal friends. Federal prosecutors say the people named had no knowledge their names were being used and said they never got any money.
Prosecutors say the money was diverted from the fund at Thibeault's orders to pay for the operating expenses of Graduate Leverage and its affiliates and to pay for his personal expenses. This use, said the feds, was contrary to GL's representations to the fund actual and prospective investors. By the time of his arrest in December of 2014, more than $15 million, which was about 40 percent of the assets of alleged to be in the Beyond Income Fund, had been diverted.
Before his arrest, Thibeault was interviewed by representatives from the Securities Exchange Commission and later admitted he gave the false and misleading information that was intended to obstruct their investigation.
According to Brian T. Kelly, an attorney representing the victims of the GL Beyond Income Fund, many of Thibeault's victims were people of average income who were convinced by him, many times personally, to invest in the Beyond Income Fund.
Kelly also made references to money that was apparently deposited into two banks in the Philippines and said he fears Thibeault will go there after his release and "gallivant" around with his clients money.
On June 9, Thibeault's attorney Timothy Watkins filed a motion to strike Kelly's filing, saying he doesn't have standing and that some of his requests are tantamount to a sentencing recommendation, which he is not entitled to make.
As part of the plea agreement, a judgment of $15,300,403 is entered against Thibeault and he agreed to forfeit assets that include three parcels of land in Dorchester, New Hampshire, all of his and his wife's holding in Graduate Leverage, LLC., assets held in a number of numerous domestic banks accounts and brokerage accounts and all funds on deposit in the Philipines.
He must also forfeit his 2011 Mercedes, and the proceeds of any settlements he reaches arising from the bankruptcy of MF Global, Inc. as well as all of his tax refunds from 2013 on.
Thibeault also agreed to assist the federal government in locating and accessing those assets both domestically and abroad.