A Zanesville man responsible for $1.2 million in losses for central Ohio clients while operating as an unlicensed securities dealer was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
Jeffrey B. Hall, 57, pleaded guilty in February to securities fraud, unlawful securities practices and telecommunication fraud on the second day of his jury trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
The sentence, imposed by Judge Dan Hawkins, mirrored a recommendation from prosecutors, and included an order that Hall pay a combined $1.2 million in restitution to 11 victims.
The victims included former Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Harland Hale, who lost $158,000, according to a sentencing memo filed by prosecutors.
Losses for the other victims ranged from $13,322 to $313,468.
The defense unsuccessfully argued for Hall to be sentenced to probation.
Hall had been in the investment business since 1989, but let his license as an investment adviser lapse in January 2012 after he was put on notice by the state Department of Commerce’s securities division that he couldn’t renew the license unless he informed his clients that he had significant tax liens.
Despite the lack of a license, Hall “continued to hold himself out as a professional broker and investment adviser” and “sought out and targeted individuals who had large investment portfolios,” prosecutors wrote.
Hall, operating out of an office in the 1500 block of Bethel Road on the North Side, “falsely represented to the victims that he was a successful and skilled investor” and “failed to disclose that his trading/investing practices had resulted in extraordinary losses in the investment accounts of other victims.”
Although the victims told him that they they were averse to risky investments, Hall traded their accounts “in a reckless, high-risk manner,” prosecutors said.
Hall socialized with many of his victims, according to the prosecution’s memo, doing “everything possible to gain their trust, including making the victims think that he is their friend.”