A Los Angeles man has been accused of stealing his clients’ retirement funds, including those of a Park County woman with whom he was related.
The man, Michael Patrick Nanto, allegedly forged the woman’s signature on various documents and transferring all her retirement funds, IRA and 401K into his own bank account.
Nantos was charged with felony theft in November 2021 after an investigation by the Livingston Police Department that began July 20, 2019, when the woman reported a man she was related to had stolen from her while acting as her retirement broker. The stolen funds amounted to about $40,000, according to an affidavit filed by the office of Park County Attorney Kendra Lassiter. Nanto had become the woman’s financial investment broker in about 2016 and had temporarily invested her funds into an appropriate account. But he also had forged her signature to gain access to her accounts and later wired all the funds to himself, according to the affidavit.
The woman reported receiving tax bills due to her IRA having been cashed out and not rolled into any other legitimate sources.
The woman’s Roth IRA, originally opened in 2012 with H&R Block, was signed over to Nanto when he was in the employment of Pacific Funds, according to the affidavit. The IRA was worth about $1,406.07 when it was transferred on or about Feb. 10, 2015, and the second investment of about $38,551.79 was rolled over from her 401K account on or about the same day, according to the affidavit. By July of 2016, Nanto was distributing funds from her accounts directly to himself through wire transfers, investigators alleged.
“Defendant transferred the money via telephone and [the woman] did not approve nor was she aware of any of this activity,” reads the affidavit. “[She] received tax bills from the State of California and the Internal Revenue Service.”
The woman reported Nanto had failed to send her quarterly statements as he said he would.
“As time passed, she became concerned about her financial assets and discovered that Defendant took full control of her finances for his own personal use and simply disappeared,” reads the affidavit.
All documents collected from Pacific Funds were forged and none of the woman’s funds were actually invested, prosecutors allege.
“Defendant simply withdrew them to bankroll his lifestyle, including purchases of items such as a Harley Davidson motorcycle,” reads the affidavit. “It was later discovered from the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission that Defendant conducted the same illegal activity with other clients’ money and his license had been suspended.”
Nanto’s Park County theft charge is punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fund under Montana state law 45-6-301(7)(ii). He has a hearing set for May 30 and a jury trial on July 11, according to county records.
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