NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


April 17, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER FINANCIAL ADVISOR MONICA COLEMAN
PLEADS GUILTY TO SECURITIES FRAUD CHARGES

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction of Monica Lynn Coleman, formerly of 442 Edgewater Road, Pasadena, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Coleman, 44, pleaded guilty to five counts of securities fraud and one count of misappropriation by a fiduciary, in connection with Coleman's investment business, Coleman Craten, LLC, which she opened in February 1998.

Between early June 1997 through mid-April 1999, Coleman misappropriated approximately $2.6 million from five clients and converted the monies for her own personal use or for use by her business, never investing the monies as she represented to her investors. In most situations, she deposited the investors' checks into her personal checking accounts or into the business payroll account. Coleman filed for personal bankruptcy and for the business in early May 1999.

On May 11, 1999, the Securities Division of the Attorney's General's office issued an order to Coleman to cease and desist from acting as a financial advisor. In December 1999, the Securities Division and Coleman entered into a final agreement that permanently barred her from engaging in the securities and investment business.

"Ms. Coleman abused her authority when she failed to invest her clients' money, instead keeping it for herself or for other business uses," Attorney General Curran said. "The Office of the Attorney General will continue to prosecute cases like this in an effort to protect investments of hard-working Marylanders."

The Honorable Roger W. Brown, scheduled sentencing for September 11, 2002. The maximum penalty for each count of securities fraud is three years incarceration and a maximum fine of $50,000, and a maximum of five years incarceration for each count of misappropriation by a fiduciary.

The case was prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Investigations Division, and the Maryland State Police. It was referred to the Criminal Investigations Division by the Securities Division of the Office of the Attorney General.

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