GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Former Kalamazoo investment adviser Joseph Fabian pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing millions of dollars from clients in a fake investment scheme. Federal prosecutors estimate he took $4.8 million.
And as Fabian was telling the judge how he took that money, giving investors fake bank certificates to make them look legitimate, former client Jim Weaver of Kalamazoo watched.
"It's kind of hard," Weaver told 24 Hour News 8. "I'm not wasting [time] hating the guy, but I don't like the guy. I guarantee you that. I'm kind of glad he's at least pleaded guilty to what he did to people."
Fabian could face up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud.
The 60-year-old was scheduled to plead guilty last week, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Scoville concluded Fabian was too uncertain to enter the plea.
On Thursday, the case moved forward.
Fabian told the judge he took money from a Kalamazoo couple and others, promising he was putting the money in bank CDs.
The former investment adviser explained that he created those fake certificates to show clients "where their money was ... but it "really wasn't."
Clients' money was funneled to other businesses tied to Fabian.
As part of a plea agreement, the former investment adviser's ability to appeal his sentence will be extremely limited. Prosecutors have agreed not to file additional federal charges related to the fraud in the case -- as long as Fabian admits all wrongdoing prior to sentencing.
"We're pleased to be moving past this stage and onto hopefully resolve things, both for my client and for those that have been affected," said Darren Malek, Fabian's lawyer.
Asked if that meant giving clients their money back, Malek said it meant "trying to make them as whole, and doing everything we can to get their funds back to them, yes."
Weaver and other former clients have sued Fabian.
Asked if he felt vindicated by Fabian's guilty plea, Weaver said he'll "feel more vindication when our civil trial -- our civil case -- is done. Hopefully we get some money back."
Paying restitution is set to be addressed when the former investment adviser is sentenced. No date has yet been set. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff must first formally accept the plea.
Two people were hurt when a car and delivery truck collided Wednesday morning.
Danyell Thomas's preliminary hearing was adjourned and Dijana Kilic waived her hearing.
This summer, Metro Health Hospital partnered with the Gus Macker charity basketball tournament to raise money for automated external defibrillators -- or AEDs -- for Kent County schools.