17 Jul Former Financial Advisor Found Guilty Of Stealing From Clients
THIBODAUX – A former financial advisor from Cut Off was convicted of racketeering, money laundering and eight counts of felony theft Friday afternoon following a week-long trial, announced District Attorney Kristine Russell.
“The victims in this case have been a source of inspiration for us as prosecutors,” said Assistant District Attorney Joe Soignet, who prosecuted the case along with District Attorney Russell. “They have deserved justice for a long time, and I’m happy that the jurors who heard their testimony this week agreed.”
Kristian Gaudet, 47, performed insurance and financial consulting services in Cut Off prior to his arrest in January of 2019 for theft. A subsequent investigation uncovered a number of additional victims, all of whom had entrusted Gaudet with investment funds. At trial, eight sets of victims testified as to funds stolen from them by Gaudet, all in excess of $25,000, with the largest thefts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“This sort of crime is so harmful because the defendant victimized people who trusted him, people who turned to him for help in planning their futures,” said Russell. “Prosecuting this crime has been very important for us and our community.”
Testimony included Detective Chris Eagan, who was assigned the case while employed by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, and John Collier, a managing director at Cherry Bekaert Advisory LLC. Collier, who testified as a Certified Fraud Examiner, performed a detailed asset tracing which he presented to the jury, detailing how Gaudet converted his client’s investments to his own business and personal uses.
Gaudet’s bond was revoked by the Honorable F. Hugh larose, who presided over the trial, and he was remanded to the custody of the Lafourche Parish Detention Center. He faces up to fifty years on money laundering, fifty years on racketeering, and up to twenty years on each count of theft. Sentencing is set for August 18 at 1:30 p.m.