Park Rapids financial advisor pleads guilty to felony
A former financial planner in Park Rapids who admitted over $300,000 was unaccounted for from an estate he managed was convicted in Hubbard County District Court on one felony count theft indifferent to owner’s rights.
Ellerd B. Tomte was originally charged in 2015 with four felony counts related to fraudulent financial practices and diverting funds. The charges included theft by swindle and fraudulent statements with intent to commit fraud, practices described as similar to an investment Ponzi scheme.
Tomte pleaded guilty to one count of theft indifferent to owner’s rights after three felony charges were dismissed earlier at an omnibus hearing.
Tomte was sentenced April 25 and placed on 10 years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $402,300 at a rate of $10,000 per month.
According to the complaint filed with Hubbard County District Court, Tomte was appointed the personal representative of the estate of a victim in June 2008. Tomte had access to cash and other assets belonging to the estate.
Tomte authorized the transfer of estate funds to Carousel Foundation, a foundation established and owned by the defendant. Tomte claimed the foundation was a non-profit entity set up to fund humanitarian projects in the United States and abroad, however Tomte could not provide records that any projects were funded by the foundation, according to the court documents.
Tomte admitted he issued checks from the estate’s account including one for $50,000 to the Carousel Foundation in 2009. He issued another check for $75,000 a couple months later, according to the statement of probable cause. Similar checks were issued that same year and Tomte could not recall why the checks were written.
Tomte testified during a probate proceeding in 2013 that he acknowledged that approximately $180,000 belonging to the estate was unaccounted for. He also testified during a deposition in 2013 there was $140,000 of estate funds that remained unaccounted for, and in the same deposition later admitted $308,950 was transferred from the estate to Carousel but never repaid.