Former Arizona financial adviser going to prison for stealing from nonprofits

Nov 15, 2018, 6:44 AM | Updated: 7:05 pm
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PHOENIX – A former financial adviser in metro Phoenix was sentenced to six years in prison for stealing nearly $170,000 from dormant bank accounts in less than a month.

Steven Watson, 36, of Gilbert, was an associate adviser in 2014 when he began taking money from inactive accounts, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said in a Wednesday statement.

Watson took $169,528.23 from three accounts between Oct. 21 and Nov. 14 back in 2014 and used the money on vacations, vehicles and child support, prosecutors said.

He had spent all of the money by the end of January 2015.

The unidentified bank launched an investigation when the Salvation Army asked for the money that it was due as a beneficiary of the account holder. Family members an the Red Cross had also been account beneficiaries.

Special Agents from the attorney general’s office and the FBI’s Phoenix Office, along with an FBI forensic accountant, learned that Watson had requested cashier’s checks from the accounts. He told bank tellers he had the authority to do so.

A Maricopa County Superior Court jury had found Watson guilty on seven counts of theft and one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices in September.

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Former Arizona financial adviser going to prison for stealing from nonprofits