Salem man sentenced for defrauding elderly investment client

EAST ST. LOUIS — A 47-year-old Salem man has been sentenced in federal court to 15 months in federal prison for fraud.
Paul P. Gierten pleaded guilty to fraud, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced. On March 31, 2015, Gierten was charged with defrauding an octogenarian out of $39,000.

Gierten formerly worked as an investment advisor in Centralia. The octogenarian victim was one of Gierten’s clients. In August of 2009, Gierten falsely told the victim that he had an investment opportunity with a business that assisted military victims. Because he is a military veteran himself, the victim agreed to invest with this business.

Gierten did not invest the victim’s funds as promised. Instead, Gierten used the victim’s funds for his own personal expenses and to pay operating expenses of his own business.

The specific crime with which Gierten was convicted is Interstate Transportation of Money or Securities Obtained by Fraud. In commenting on today’s conviction, United States Attorney Wigginton stated: “Mr. Gierten took advantage of one of our most vulnerable citizens. We will always aggressively prosecute those who prey upon and defraud elderly residents of Southern Illinois.”