Financial adviser accused of $15 million investment fraud

CLEVELAND (AP) – A northeastern Ohio financial adviser has been indicted on charges he helped defraud at least 100 investors of more than $15 million.

Federal prosecutors say Larry Werbel of Chagrin Falls was one of several brokers who recruited investors for shares of a shell company called VgTel Inc., with the promise of high dividends.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York says the shares were being sold and bought by companies that the accused schemers owned in an effort to artificially inflate the price.

The FBI arrested the 67-year-old Werbel, owner of Evolution Partners Wealth Management, on Wednesday in Ohio.

Defense attorney Scott Matasar tells Cleveland.com that Werbel disputes the allegations and looks forward to the chance to defend himself.

Information from: cleveland.com

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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