A former investment advisor has lost his appeal to to reverse a ruling sending him to prison and ordering him to pay millions of dollars in restitution.

Stephen Condon Peters, former owner of the registered investment advisory firm Visionquest Wealth Management, was convicted after a trial by jury in 2019 on 20 counts, including for investment advisor fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of North Carolina.

In September 2019, Peters was sentenced to 480 months in prison after being convicted that year on all charges against him, In November the same year, an amended judgment ordered him to pay more than $15 million in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

The evidence showed that Peters, in his role as an advisor, defrauded his numerous clients by steering them into investments in which Peters had a direct financial interest, according to the the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He then compounded his crimes by attempting to defraud the Securities and Exchange Commission with false documents and statements, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

At sentencing, the judge commented that Peters’s crimes were “breathtaking,” but were proven with a “tsunami of evidence," according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Last week, Peters lost his appeal in an opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which fully affirmed both his sentence and the $15 million order for restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“For years now, the many victims of former investment advisor Stephen Peters have been holding their breath, waiting for any kind of news about the outcome of his appeal, so that they can move on with their lives,” Acting U.S. Attorney Norman Acker, III, said in a statement. “Today I am pleased to report that the appeal is over.”

Peters became a registered broker in 2000, joining SEI Investments Distribution in Oaks, Pennsylvania, according to BrokerCheck. His registration there ended in 2004, according to his BrokerCheck profile. He was then registered as an investment advisor with Visionquest from 2005 to 2017, according to his profile on the SEC's investment advisor public disclosure database.

Visionquest ceased operations after a 2017 search-and-seizure of its business records and offices by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the SEC.

Do you have a news tip you’d like to share with FA-IQ? Email us at editorial@financialadvisoriq.com.