A York resident has been sentenced to four years in prison for operating a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme and failing to file federal income tax returns, a New Hampshire federal prosecutor said Thursday.

William Bischoff, 76, defrauded more than two dozen clients of his financial advisory business from 2009 through 2017 by falsely promising to invest their money in real estate, structured legal settlements, high-yield notes, and a startup recycling business, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray. Bischoff also guaranteed returns that far exceeded market norms in many email solicitations sent to his victims, Murray said.

In total, Bischoff stole over $5.6 million from the defrauded investors, Murray said. To conceal that conduct, Bischoff used money he received from some investors to make payments to other investors. He also provided monthly account statements to the investors that falsely represented the balance of their fictitious investment accounts, he said.

Bischoff also failed to file individual federal tax returns for the four-year period from 2011 to 2015, which resulted in a tax revenue loss to the U.S. Treasury of nearly $570,000, according to Murray.

Bischoff pleaded guilty on March 9 to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully failing to file federal tax returns, he said.

“It is hard to comprehend the emotional and financial harm that Mr. Bischoff inflicted on the victims of his criminal conduct,” Murray said. “It is my sincere hope that the prosecution of this case will deter other people from engaging in similar conduct. Those who commit financial crimes should understand that we will aggressively prosecute them and will not hesitate to recommend substantial prison sentences.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kinsella prosecuted the case, which was originally handled by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Morse.

“Mr. Bischoff betrayed his unsuspecting clients and defrauded them out of millions of dollars through an elaborate scheme he devised for his own personal gain,” said Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, in the release. “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners in rooting out those who engage in financial crimes like this. Those who abuse their positions of trust to illegally enrich themselves will be held accountable for their actions.”

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson