Still on board Bridgewater official stays on Board of Trustees in spite of 'guilty' plea
Bridgewater official stays on Board of Trustees in spite of 'guilty' plea
Greg Buchholz has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with the theft of more than $1.35 million from clients he represented as a securities broker.
The Bridgewater resident faces a prison sentence of several years.
Nonetheless, Mr. Buchholz remains on a public board in his hometown, and he continues to receive praise from some of those who have associated with him.
A 10-year resident of Bridgewater, Mr. Buchholz was working as an independent contractor in a branch office of Raymond James Financial Services in Southbury until he was fired in September.
He resigned on Oct. 19 from his seat on the Bridgewater Board of Finance, of which he was chairman.
As of Monday, however, Mr. Buchholz had not resigned from the town's Board of Trustees. And he appears to have the strong support of that panel's chairman.
Ned Bandler, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said Monday Mr. Buchholz is still considered a "valued member of the board" and is helping with an "orderly transition" to find a new member with the financial expertise required to replace him.
"(Mr. Buchholz's) advice and counsel are still useful to the town in spite of the unfortunate situation that has been reported in the papers," Mr. Bandler said.
"The Board of Trustees is managing a number of funds that require day-to-day monitoring of a volatile market," he explained.
In relation to his guilty plea in federal court in Bridgeport Friday, Mr. Buchholz, 45, waived his right to indictment and pleaded to the charge that was related to a "long-running scheme to defraud a number of his clients, some of whom were retirees, by embezzling funds from their investment accounts," according to a Nov. 12 announcement from United States Attorney David Fein.
For Dan DePasqua, a Sikorsky Aircraft mechanic who invested through Mr. Buchholz, the charges and plea deal are difficult to understand.
"I had Greg as my financial advisor," Mr. DePasqua said. "He gave me some good information on stocks to purchase.
"We'd talk for up to an hour to make a sale of my stocks," he related. "He advised me against selling short."
Mr. DePasqua said "Greg seemed pretty straight and like he'd work with me. We put down goals, and he worked with me to meet them, exactly the way we'd talked. I'm really surprised."
Mr. Buchholz could not be reached for comment Monday.
His attorney, Thomas Seigel of Westport, said in a statement Friday, "Greg sincerely regrets his actions and apologizes to all affected.
"He has cooperated with the government's investigation since its beginning," Mr. Seigel said, "and he is thankful that Raymond James Financial Services, which is not anyway implicated in his conduct, will be making restitution to the affected clients."
In a news release, Mr. Fein said Raymond James Financial Services cooperated with federal authorities throughout the investigation and agreed to reimburse Mr. Buchholz's victims for any losses they sustained.
Mr. Buchholz is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 31. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, with a plea recommendation of between 63 and 78 months, according to U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Tom Carson.
Staff Writer Nanci G. Hutson contributed to this story.