RALEIGH — Apparently, it took the jury only one hour to deliberate. But in the end, VisionQuest founder Stephen Peters was found guilty on all 20 counts in what prosecutors argued was “Ponzi scheme,” conning investors out of their retirements and life’s savings.
In news first reported by the Triangle Business Journal, the jury reached its guilt verdict on Thursday.
Among the counts: aggravated identity theft, corrupt endeavor to influence a federal agency, falsifying or concealing records, making and using false documents, conspiracy to make and use false documents and to falsify and conceal records, four counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, nine counts of wire fraud, fraud in the sale of securities and investment advisor fraud.
After the verdict, Peters was handcuffed and taken into custody. The decision to remand Peters was based on “serious issues of obstruction of justice in this case,” Judge James Dever’s was quoted as saying.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 9.
Advertised as a “family office”
On his LinkedIn page, Peters is listed as the founder and CEO of VisionQuest Wealth Management Company, a wealth management company started up in 2005 that provides services to “prominent American families.” He is also president and CEO of VisionQuest Capital founded in 2008.
Comparing the firm to a “family office,” his profile reads: “Mr. Peters has developed a unique team structure at VisionQuest supported by internal and external wealth management experts focused on providing high-quality advice and attentive service rather than simply selling products. His firm’s multi-family office structure consists of a deep bench of wealth management expertise that ensures clients receive the benefit of top-notch, credible advice while at the same time delivering that breadth of expertise efficiently.”
Before starting VisionQuest Wealth Management, he worked at SEI Investments in three different market units, and was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps.
Back in 2016, WRAL TechWire reported that his Raleigh-based company filed to raise $14.2 million in debt financing, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The year before that, it was also reported that VisionQuest purchased two financial firms with combined assets of about $120 million in 2015. The two firms were Charlotte, North Carolina-based advisory practice, Tippet Group, managed by Harold Soutier, Sr. and Harold Soutier, Jr., and Richmond, Virginia-based Deckert Financial Management, managed by president and founder Kevin Deckert.
VisionQuest estimated that the combined total of Soutier and Deckerts’ assets were worth around $120,000 at the time.
It is unclear what VisionQuest’s total valuation is today.
The report says the jury is expected to deliberate on forfeitures of Peters’ property, allegedly acquired through the scheme.