Montpelier, VT – Commissioner Michael S. Pieciak today announced that he has approved the first-ever payment from Department of Financial Regulation’s (DFR) Victim Restitution Fund. Under recent legislative authority, Act No. 57 of 2019, the Fund allows DFR to pay securities fraud victims a portion of their losses when full restitution is not paid by the perpetrator of the fraud. Monies in the fund are derived from settlements in DFR enforcement cases.
Early in the pandemic, a Vermont resident was defrauded of $21,250 by William J. Therieau, an unregistered individual purporting to be an investment professional. Therieau accepted the victim’s funds and said he would invest them but did not. Instead, he converted the funds to his personal use. The Department brought an enforcement action and obtained an order against Therieau for both civil penalties and restitution for the victim. Therieau, however, has failed to pay both the Department and the victim to date.
Now, through the Vermont Restitution Fund, the Department will be able pay the victim 25% of their losses while continuing to seek the rest from Therieau.
“In cases of investment fraud, stolen money is often quickly squandered, leaving the courts and DFR unable to enforce restitution orders,” said Commissioner Pieciak. “This fund will provide financial assistance to victims of scams and frauds who obtain nominal relief from a court or the Department, but no monetary recovery. I’m pleased that we’re able to provide some relief to this victim, while working to recover the rest of their funds.”
Upon learning they would receive a partial restoration of their financial losses from the Department, the victim responded, “the fact that this Fund exists is incredible. While my experience with Mr. Therieau was devastating, fortunately, the State of Vermont is able to help ease the loss financially and emotionally. It helps me in more than just tangible ways to know the Department is willing to support me and others in this way.”
The Department has received no additional complaints from Vermont residents concerning Therieau. If you believe you have been a victim of a securities fraud, please contact DFR at 833-DFR-HOTLINE, 802-828-3420, or email@example.com.