Investment adviser charged with defrauding clients

A Louisiana-based investment adviser has been charged with defrauding clients by using their money for personal expenses, to pay off other investors and to invest in a risky real estate venture.

Ralph Willard Savoie, a resident of Baton Rouge and Mandeville, was charged last Friday in federal court with two counts of wire fraud and one count of identity theft.

A court filing says Savoie obtained more than $150,000 from investors he allegedly defrauded and used some of the money on jewelry, hotels, restaurants, credit card bills, a car note and rent.

The filing says Savoie was “associated with” an Iowa-based brokerage firm, Cambridge Investment Research Inc., from July 2013 until August 2015.

Savoie’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.