ST. LOUIS • An investment adviser from Ellisville was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for ripping off investors with loans to a fraudulent St. Louis County builder who was sentenced later in the day to six and one-half years in prison.
The former adviser, William "Bill" Glaser, 61, was ordered to repay $1.5 million to victims. The builder, Paul E, Creager, 40, was ordered to repay $3.3 million.
It is the second recent federal criminal case against Creager, who has left a string of lawsuits and unhappy investors in Missouri and Illinois in recent years and was the subject of a 2017 warning from the Better Business Bureau.
In 2015 and 2016, Glaser steered client money to unsecured promissory notes with Creager’s company. Glaser didn’t tell clients that he was receiving large commissions from their investments and falsely claimed that he had also invested with Creager, prosecutors have said.
One of those clients was Frank B. Steinberger, a Navy veteran who was profiled in a 2017 Post-Dispatch story about Creager and Glaser.
Amy Swaminathan, one of Steinberger's daughters, told U.S. District Judge John Ross in court Friday that Glaser had been advising the family since the 1990s. While reviewing her father's financial affairs, she learned that Glaser had liquidated two IRAs, costing her father $18,000 in penalties.
She later learned that Glaser had been having her father, who suffers from dementia and various other ailments, sign financial documents. She then found out that Glaser had given $380,000 to a St. Louis County developer, Paul Creager, in exchange for unsecured promissory notes, "as good as an IOU on a napkin."
Glaser apologized in court, and said that he'd "lost everything," including his family. He also said, "I never thought there would be a loss of funds to them," meaning clients.
But Ross wouldn't let that statement go unchallenged. He told Glaser, "You knew they were going to lose the money," meaning clients' losses due to fraud, and Glaser answered, "Yes, your honor."
Ross called the situation "horribly tragic," and said the crime was "entirely motivated by greed."
But he also acknowledged that Glaser had some cognitive difficulties as a result of several auto accidents.
Glaser pleaded guilty in February to three counts of wire fraud as part of an agreement that called for the three-year prison term.
Creager, of Wildwood, pleaded guilty in January and admitted that he misled one investor into giving him $2.5 million. He also admitted filing a false affidavit claiming all subcontractors had been paid before the closing of a Kirkwood home sale.
Dr. Matthew Lewis told U.S. District Judge Ronnie White that he'd been introduced to Creager by his financial planner. Creager convinced Lewis to become a partner, but didn't tell him about money owed to other investors and used Lewis' life savings to fund a luxury lifestyle that included a yacht, a lakeside home, jewelry, luxury autos and first-class cruises and travel.
"I will never recover," he said.
Carla Lewis, his wife, said Creager knew how to groom victims and win their trust. She said the couple almost lost their house and are still repaying credit card debt that Creager incurred. They also are without the money they wanted to use for the testing and treatment required to have a child by a surrogate.
Creager's new sentence will run at the same time as the five-year sentence he received in 2018 for defrauding other clients to fund his lavish lifestyle. He was also ordered to repay $724,000.