Ex-financial adviser in Va. pleads guilty to fraud

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- A former independent financial adviser faces up to 40 years in prison for a fraud scheme that cost clients nearly $1 million.

Michael D. Leamnson pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg, Va. to one count each of wire fraud and mail fraud. The 56-year-old Roanoke resident faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.

U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy says many of Leamnson's victims are elderly investors who trusted him with their life savings.

During Thursday's plea hearing, Leamnson admitted depositing clients' money into a checking account instead of investing the funds. He used the money for personal expenses, outside business interests and to make interest payments owed to clients.