NEW YORK – A financial advisor to US socialites and Hollywood celebrities was sentenced Wednesday to seven and a half years prison for stealing millions of dollars in clients’ funds.
Kenneth Starr, 67, was sentenced in New York federal court to 90 months behind bars, a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office told AFP.
The former high-flying advisor’s client list resembled a Who’s Who of the US entertainment and publishing worlds.
Some of his clients, who reportedly included actors Sylvester Stallone and Al Pacino, photographer Annie Leibovitz and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, had entrusted him with every aspect of their financial lives.
Instead, he was quietly stealing millions that he used to fund a luxury lifestyle, both for himself and his former stripper wife, whom he lavished with jewelry.
As he racked up debts, he then repeatedly stole money from one client to pay off another in a Ponzi scheme totaling more than $30 million in losses, before he was finally caught, prosecutors said. When FBI agents raided his $7.5 million Manhattan apartment, they found him hiding in a closet.
“Kenneth Starr pretended he had the Midas touch, but he was in reality peddling fool’s gold,” prosecutor Preet Bharara said. “Today’s sentence is just and appropriate for the audacious fraud he perpetrated on many victims.”