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Ex-Merrill broker in Kentucky sentenced to eight years

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A judge has sentenced a former Merrill Lynch broker to eight years in prison for stealing from multiple customer accounts. Christopher Hibbard embezzled more than $4.2 million from client accounts between 2007 and 2017. Hibbard worked at Merrill for seven-and-a-half years of his 18-year brokerage career.  He pled guilty in June to wire and investment fraud.

From January 2011 to December 2017, he made over 300 unauthorized transfers from client annuity accounts to his personal American Express account, using false statements to conceal his scheme, according to prosecutors. He also stole over $1.2 million from a local Louisville client through direct wire transfers from a Morgan Keegan brokerage account in 2007 and 2008.

Hibbard, who was indicted in November 2018, could not be reached for comment.

He began his career at A.G. Edwards in April 1999, joined Morgan Keegan in September 2004, and arrived at Merrill in July 2010. He had ten customer complaints since 2018, half of which have been settled by Merrill for more than $6.7 million.

Merrill fired Hibbard in January 2018 after an internal investigation, “promptly” alerted authorities, and has compensated affected clients.