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Clarence investment advisor pleads guilty to fraud

Giokas Wealth Advisors

A Clarence investment advisor has pleaded guilty to bilking clients out of nearly $1.5 million.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Michael Giokas, 58, pleaded guilty to wire fraud Monday and is facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Bonanno said Giokas is the president of Giokas Wealth Advisors, which provided financial services to more than 40 clients. On his firm's website, Giokas also describes himself as developer of The Wisdom of Now, "a unique process for helping affluent families manage the complexities of wealth in their families and their businesses."

Among his other affiliations, Giokas says he is a board member and former treasurer for the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, a former board member of the Financial Planning Association of Buffalo and former radio host of Talking Money Matters on WECK-AM.

In 2017, Bonanno says Giokas advised clients to invest in Trinity Council, which actually was a shell company that did no business. The funds went directly to Giokas.

In a separate scheme, Bonanno says Giokas convinced Nationwide insurance and financial services to transfer money from his clients’ Nationwide accounts to himself under the guise of “fee requests.” As a result of the two schemes, he says Giokas defrauded clients out of $1,473,396.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 20.