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Investment Advisor Accused of Embezzling $260,000 from Clients to Face Trial
December 22, 2022
LANSING – A Kent County investment advisor who is accused of taking $260,000 from his clients was recently bound over to circuit court on charges of embezzlement and conducting a criminal enterprise, among other felonies, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
Jaime Westenbarger, 45, of Nashville, TN was bound over following a hearing on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, before Judge O’Hara in the 63rd District Court in Kent County.
Westenbarger is charged with:
- One count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, punishable by 20 years and/or $100,000;
- Two counts of Embezzlement $100,000 or More, punishable by 20 years and/or a fine up to $50,000, or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater;
- One count of Embezzlement $50,000 or More But Less Than $100,000, punishable by 15 years and/or $25,000, or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater;
- Two counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, in this instance punishable by 20 years and/or $20,000; and
- One count of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, in this instance, punishable by 10 years and/or $10,000.
"People put their trust in professionals when seeking to invest their hard-earned money. It’s critical that those professionals be held to high fiduciary standards,” said Nessel. “I am grateful to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for bringing this matter to our attention.”
The case was referred to Nessel’s office by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Westenbarger was working as an investment advisor and the registered agent for Forest Hills Financial, Inc. when he used his position to embezzle from multiple clients. Westenbarger told the victims he would invest their money, but instead, stole the money for himself using a computer, via online transfers.
A pretrial date has not yet been set with the 17th Circuit Court in Kent County.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Attorney General’s office does not provide photos of defendants, but one may be available from the Kent County Jail.