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Retired Stockbroker Sentenced in Fraud

A retired stockbroker was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to two years in prison for defrauding an elderly multimillionaire who for years ignored stock accounts worth up to $16 million.

Judge Edward Rafeedie also ordered Willard R. Walls Jr. of Huntington Beach to return $503,000 to the estate of Everett Reiten, who died last year in Wisconsin after spending much of his life in Long Beach.

Walls, 66, was convicted in April of 12 counts of fraud and interstate transportation of stolen money for diverting funds from the stock accounts he managed for Reiten at Merrill Lynch’s Long Beach office. The prosecution contended that Walls could not resist the temptation of dipping into Reiten’s accounts after Reiten returned to Wisconsin and lost touch.

Walls insisted that he transferred the funds into his accounts to protect Reiten’s money from seizure by the Internal Revenue Service.

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