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Independence financial adviser draws federal prison sentence

By The Examiner staff

An Independence financial adviser will spend more than five years in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million from two elderly clients.

Kraig Gier, 59, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Kansas City to five years and three months in prison without parole. He pleaded guilty Jan. 31 to two counts of wire fraud, admitting that he stole $879,602 and $208,362 from clients who were 96 and 84 years old.

According to court documents, Gier depleted the life savings of his victims, one of whom had to move out of the family home she and her husband shared with her children for many years.

“A trusted financial advisor greedily preyed on two unsuspecting elderly clients to illegally enrich himself,” U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said in a release after Gier pleaded guilty. “It’s criminal, but even more contemptible when those granted positions of trust take advantage of vulnerable victims, such as their elderly clients.”

Gier operated a business called Security Planning Corporation. According to court documents, he began making fraudulent withdrawals from the various investment accounts of these clients in February 2015, and he had the money deposited into either his personal checking account or his business account. This fraud scheme continued until July 2018.

Gier sometimes forged signatures on a withdrawal request, and at other times he would add with the withdrawal paperwork a fraudulent voided check with the victim’s name on it but with his personal or business account number as the intended recipient of the requested funds.

To cover up his scheme, Gier admitted, he prepared false documentation purportedly from the financial company holding the clients’ investment. It would fraudulently represent they were making a significant profit even though he had often significantly depleted their account.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Independence Police Department.