Jerome “Joe” Bonnett, a longtime financial advisor from Omaha, Nebraska who was accused by state officials of misappropriating over $1.35 million of client funds, has committed suicide.Bonnett operated the Bonnett Wealth Management investment firms. Two Nebraska law enforcement officials familiar with the two month investigation stated that Bonnett’s clients have lost as much as $2 million. The FBI is also involved in the investigation. The allegations, which span at least nine years, have “all the makings of a Ponzi scheme,” officials said. Bonnett had been charged with two felonies: first-degree forgery and a fraudulent insurance charge, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said. Kleine also stated he filed the initial charges to try to ensure that Bonnett remained in the Omaha area. Prosecutors said they asked a judge to set “significantly high” bail. The judge set Bonnett’s bail at $100,000 and ordered him to surrender his passport. He paid $10,000 — 10 percent of the bail amount — and had been released from jail.
Bonnett managed 83 investment accounts totaling about $47.5 million in assets, state officials said.
The State Department of Insurance, which oversees investment advisors involved in securities, alleged in a civil lawsuit that since at least 2007, Bonnett had used clients’ money to pay himself, his mortgage and a restaurant startup loan and to replenish funds in other clients’ accounts.
Bonnett’s assets had been frozen during the investigation. He and his wife were allowed to withdraw $10,000 a month for living expenses.If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.