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Edina Financial Adviser Charged with Wire Fraud for Stealing $1.6 Million from Clients

MINNEAPOLIS – An Edina financial adviser has been charged with wire fraud after misappropriating $1.6 million in client investment funds, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, Kristi Margaret Berge, 47, was the founder and CEO of Keep Safe Investments, LLC, or "KSI Financial," a financial planning and investment services firm. Berge also co-owned and operated J&K Connect LLC, a company that invested in real estate through buying, renovating, and re-selling properties. Berge maintained offices for her companies in Edina, Minnesota. Berge is registered as an investment adviser with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Minnesota.

According to court documents, from June 2020 through February 2023, Berge fraudulently misappropriated approximately $1.6 million from some of her clients' accounts by falsely representing to clients that she would maintain their money in safe and secure investment accounts, such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k) retirement savings plans. Instead, Berge fraudulently misappropriated the money by repeatedly withdrawing client funds in varying amounts between $5,000 and $220,000 and depositing the funds into bank accounts she controlled. Berge then used the clients' funds to purchase multiple properties in Edina for her real estate business. Berge tried to conceal her fraud by falsely labeling her illicit withdrawals as "management" or "administrative" fees and by creating fabricated records to give the false impression that she had authorization to withdraw clients' investment funds.

Berge is charged with one count of wire fraud. On March 7, 2024, Berge is scheduled to make her initial appearance in U.S. District Court before Judge Eric C. Tostrud.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew S. Ebert and Harry M. Jacobs are prosecuting the case.

An information is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

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