Howard sentenced to up to 20 years for investment fraud, must repay $600K

Last modified: 3/18/2015 7:08:01 PM
A Jaffrey man has been sentenced to between seven and 20 years in state prison in relation to an investment fraud scheme that he ran between 2002 and 2009, according to court documents. Authorities say investors lost more than $2 million.

Charles H. Howard III of Jaffrey was sentenced at the Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit investment adviser fraud and securities manipulation.

From 2002 to 2009, Charles Howard gave investment advice, and charged fees for that advice, to at least nine investors, after having already been barred from acting as an investment advisor. Howard encouraged investors to invest their stock in companies that were paying him to advocate for them, and for which his wife, Carolyn Howard, had worked as a director.

It is estimated that investors lost a little under $2.26 million in bad investments and consulting fees.

While sentencing documents specify that Howard could spend as much as 20 years in prison, they also say the court offers no objection to Howard serving the last four years of the minimum sentence on electronically monitored home confinement. Howard is ordered to pay $600,000 to the state over a period of time, the majority of which will go to his victims as restitution, according to sentencing documents.

The court stipulated that Howard pay $47,500 upon the entry of his guilty plea on Aug. 20, 2014, and $52,500 before Aug. 27, 2014. The rest is to be paid annually, at the rate of $32,000 per year, to be increased to $55,000 per year if he should be released on electronic monitoring. Failure to make monthly payments will be reported to the Attorney General.

The sentencing is in line with the plea agreement made by Howard in August. However, Howard’s agreement would have had him serving three and a half years in prison and three and a half years on electronic monitoring.

The sentencing stipulates that, as Howard has provided substantial cooperation, that an adjustment be made to allow Howard to be released on an electronic monitoring system after three years if he continues to be cooperative and fulfill the other terms of his sentence, including keeping up restitution payments.

Carolyn Howard had previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of acting as an unlicensed investment adviser in relation to the same investment fraud. Under a plea agreement, she was sentenced to a 12-month jail term, deferred for a year pending good behavior.

Charles Howard previously served prison time in the 1990s as a result of conviction on charges of obstructing a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into stock manipulations by Howard, which were a factor in the downfall of Amoskeag Bank and Dartmouth Bank, and on a felony bank fraud and conspiracy charge involving insider trading, bank bribery and bank fraud.

Howard served three years for those charges, and was barred from acting as a investment adviser or obtaining a securities license. Howard did not disclose to most of his recent investors who used his investment services that he had been banned from securities business.

Investors with the Howards, who include several local residents and several people identified in court documents as longtime friends of the couple, lost millions in investments and consulting fees, for which Howard was not legally allowed to charge. Individual losses were as high as $800,000, according to court documents.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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