FBI agents arrested former Ameriprise Financial Services representative Li Lin Hsu of Diamond Bar, California and charged her with mail fraud, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and money laundering. The US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California alleges that Hsu defrauded clients by embezzling funds she promised would be invested, and solicited customers through advertisements in Chinese-language newspapers. Hsu also purportedly used some stolen victims' funds to repay other investors, an element similar to that of a Ponzi-like scheme.
In September 2017, a FINRA arbitration panel ordered Hsu to pay $675,000 in damages to Amerprise over charges that she misappropriated funds from a client, and for breach of fiduciary duty. An associated customer dispute, settled for $675,000 through arbitration, alleged that Hsu misappropriated investment funds intended for the client's account at Ameriprise's Los Angeles branch and that Ameriprise engaged in intentional and/or negligent misrepresentation or concealment because the firm failed to inform its customer that Hsu had been placed on suspension due to repeated violations of company policy and applicable law.
The Department of Justice's release states that Hsu (CRD #4706509), who also ran Li-Lin Hsu Wealth Management in the greater Los Angeles area and whose BrokerCheck report indicates an employment with Transglobal Advisory in Pasadena, solicited investments from clients, including through the use of ads in Southern California Chinese-language newspapers. Investigators believe Hsu victimized at least 11 people to the tune of at least $2 million in losses.
The indictment alleges that over a five-year period, Hsu failed to invest her clients' funds as represented and instead used the funds for personal expenses, including credit card bills, personal loans, luxury, and real estate. For example, Hsu's money laundering charge contends that Hsu used $1 million stolen from one victim to purchase a condominium in Diamond Bar.
Investigators allege that Hsu attempted to conceal her fraudulent scheme by using some of the stolen money from certain victims to pay back other victims, somewhat similar to a Ponzi scheme, and that Hsu sent her clients fake account statements and investment purchase confirmations.
Ameriprise fired Hsu in 2015 for an improper beneficiary relationship with a client, complaint handling, commingling funds, and conducting business with a foreign client after previously suspending her; FINRA subsequently barred her from the securities industry following a suspension for failing to respond to FINRA's request for information, and the SEC later upheld FINRA's action.
If you have invested with Li Lin Hsu, formerly of Ameriprise Financial's Los Angeles branch, or with any broker or financial adviser who has stolen, misappropriated, or otherwise fraudulently converted your funds for personal use, or who has engaged in money laundering or a Ponzi-like scheme to pay off other customers instead of investing your funds as intended, and these acts of fraud have resulted in damages or otherwise proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.