Richard Belott, managing member and investment adviser with Financial Planning Advisors in Chatham, was fined $500,000 in civil penalties on charges of defrauding eight elderly and retired clients.
The office of state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Securities accused Belott of swindling investors of $1.55 million by telling them he was investing their money in at least 24 promissory notes from local diners and a real estate developer.
Belott told the unsuspecting investors that notes had terms of one year and offered interest rates of five- to 18 percent. In reality, Belott took investors’ money and spent it on personal expenses, such as his daughter’s college tuition, vacations for himself and his wife and mortgage payments on a vacation beach home, officials said.
Additionally, instead of receiving promissory notes from the diners or developer, investors received personal promissory notes from the owners of those businesses, who had
undisclosed business relationships with Belott. In at least one instance, the promissory note was issued by Belott, according to the Attorney General’s office.