Ex-Merrill Broker in Kentucky Sentenced to Eight Years
A judge has sentenced a former Merrill Lynch broker in Louisville, KY, to eight years in prison for stealing from multiple customer accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Western District of Kentucky.
Christopher Hibbard, 44, embezzled more than $4.2 million from client accounts between 2007 and 2017, according to the federal prosecutor.
From January 2011 to December 2017, he made over 300 unauthorized transfers from client annuity accounts to his personal American Express account, using false statements to conceal his scheme, according to prosecutors. He also stole over $1.2 million from a local Louisville client through direct wire transfers from a Morgan Keegan brokerage account in 2007 and 2008.
“Trust was the victim in this case—trust in the defendant who portrayed himself as a family member and stole millions in our financial system, and in other human beings,” U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman said in a prepared statement.
Hibbard, who was indicted in November 2018, could not be reached for comment.
He began his career at A.G. Edwards in April 1999, joined Morgan Keegan in September 2004 and arrived at Merrill in July 2010, according to BrokerCheck. His record includes ten customer complaints since 2018, half of which have been settled by Merrill for more than $6.7 million.
Merrill fired Hibbard in January 2018 after an internal investigation, “promptly” alerted authorities and has compensated affected clients, said a spokesman for the Bank of America unit. He declined to comment on whether the firm had faced any regulatory sanctions over its supervision of Hibbard.
Hibbard’s BrokerCheck record shows five customer disputes alleging theft and/or fraud that are pending.