Sacto 9-1-1
October 21, 2011
South Lake Tahoe broker admits stealing from investors

A South Lake Tahoe investment broker has pleaded guilty to stealing from clients' investment and retirement accounts.

Lori Zoval, 46, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud for embezzling client money while employed as an independent contractor with a brokerage firm in Folsom. As part of the plea agreement, Zoval agreed to pay restitution, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Zoval used her position of trust to embezzle at least $24,939 from the investment and retirement accounts of her clients between October 2005 and April 2006. She admitted to stealing funds by telling her clients that she was setting up tax shelters that required her to transfer funds into the names of third parties that she called "provisional employees." To facilitate the fund transfer, she fraudulently created documents making it appear that her clients authorized the money transfers.

Zoval lulled the victims into believing that she was making legitimate and profitable investments by sending falsified account statements reflecting inflated returns and balances, officials said.

She is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6 by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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