Former Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty to Financially Exploiting Elderly Adult

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Concord, NH — Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announced today that James E. Knee (age 66), of Bow, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to one count of Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Adult, one count of Perjury, and one count of Witness Tampering. 

Mr. Knee, a former investment advisor, was charged with financially exploiting a 75-year-old former investment advisory client between January 2016 and July 2016.  The financial exploitation included liquidating securities from the client’s securities account and then prevailing upon the client to write $345,000 in checks payable to Mr. Knee.  In breach of his fiduciary duty to his client, Mr. Knee did not re-invest those funds on his client’s behalf, but rather deposited them into accounts Mr. Knee controlled.  Mr. Knee then used his client’s funds to pay Mr. Knee’s expenses, which included significant sums paid to a Florida woman whom he had met online.

When the above transactions were detected Mr. Knee falsely testified under oath in a September 2, 2016 hearing before the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation that all the funds he had received from his client in this manner he referred to as gifts.

In 2017, after having been advised that the State intended to bring criminal charges against him, including possibly Theft by Deception charges, Mr. Knee caused two notes to be delivered to his client, which among other things, advised his client of the contemplated charges and instructed his client to say that the client had not been deceived.  These notes also instructed the client to destroy the notes.  The client destroyed one note, but provided the other to his counsel who provided it to the State.

Mr. Knee will be sentenced August 29, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. at Merrimack Superior Court.

This case was prosecuted and investigated by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Bureau Assistant Attorneys General Robert F. Adams and Gregory M. Albert and Investigator Calice Ducey.

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