A Massachusetts man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison and will pay hundreds of thousands in restitution after pleading guilty to defrauding an elderly investor and using the funds for personal expenses, including more than $100,000 in federal student loans.
According to the Department of Justice, Felix Gorovodsky of Swampscott, Mass. was sentenced in federal court in Boston this week after pleading guilty to bank fraud on May 11. Gorovodsky is not currently registered as an investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to an affidavit filed in January in support of the investigation against Gorovodsky, he lived in Singapore when he first made contact with the unnamed elderly victim, who was born in Russia in 1942. She and her husband immigrated to the United States in the late 1980s and purchased a home in Houston. Her husband died in about 2017, and she subsequently retired to Ecuador, according to the affidavit.
In November 2018, she began looking for a Russian-speaking advisor to help manage her retirement assets and the money raised from the sale of her Houston home. She was referred to Gorovodsky, and she appointed him as her financial proxy and hired him as an advisor, despite the fact he had “no significant personal experience or accreditations” in either investing or finance.
But the advisor soon ran a scheme to defraud the elderly woman and Capital One by stealing the funds raised by the sale of the her Houston home. In May 2019, both the victim and Gorovodsky traveled to Texas to sign documents granting him power for attorney. At around that same time, on Gorovodsky’s urging, the victim opened a Capital One account and transferred the funds garnered from the sale of her house into it.
But shortly after traveling back to Ecuador, the woman had second thoughts, according to the affidavit; by July, she sent a letter to Gorovodsky removing him from having power of attorney. In March of the following year, Gorovodsky moved from Singapore to Swampscott. According to the affidavit, at this time he was behind on payments for his federal student loans, with non-existent or low balances in his Capital One checking and savings accounts and more than $13,000 in credit card debt.
In April 2020, he transferred almost $253,000 out of the victim’s Capital One account into his own; on about the same day, he used more than $100,000 of the funds to pay down his student loans, and withdrew more than $14,000 throughout the month of April. According to the DOJ, Gorovodsky also forged the woman’s signature on a “gift letter” which he sent to Capital One to make the transfer seem legitimate. According to the affidavit, the investigation revealed that the victim had not signed the letter and had never agreed to give Gorovodsky the assets as a gift.
According to the DOJ, Gorovodsky will also face two years of supervised release, in addition to his 33-month prison sentence and the restitution order for $310,492.