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Ex-Wells, Morgan Stanley broker pleads guilty in check fraud scheme

(Reuters) - A former broker for Wells Fargo & Co and Morgan Stanley has pleaded guilty to wire fraud over what federal prosecutors called a $1.8 million check fraud scheme that cheated a widowed client in her 80s.

Adorean Boleancu admitted to writing the checks without authorization on the client's brokerage account and home equity lines of credit, and making payments to family members, a girlfriend and to companies where he had credit card accounts, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in San Francisco said on Tuesday.

A lawyer for Boleancu previously identified the client as Donna Treadwell, who according to court papers was 77 when she first met the defendant.

Prosecutors said Boleancu established the accounts for Treadwell in 2007 while he worked at Morgan Stanley, left that firm a year later, and continued to forge checks on her accounts through 2011, when he worked at Wells Fargo.

Boleancu, 47, lives in Napa, California. He entered his plea on Friday, after having been indicted in July on 27 counts, court records show.

The defendant remains free on $800,000 bond pending a December 17 sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

A copy of Boleancu's plea agreement was not immediately available. Ethan Balogh, a lawyer for Boleancu, did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment. Neither Wells Fargo nor Morgan Stanley was accused of wrongdoing.

In March, Boleancu agreed to repay Treadwell $650,000 and be banned from the securities industry as part of a civil settlement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He did not admit or deny FINRA's findings.

The case is U.S. v. Boleancu, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 13-cr-00444.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Ken Wills)

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