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Shelby Township financial adviser sentenced to prison for running Ponzi scheme

Romer sentenced to 7 to 20 years in prison

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A former Shelby Township financial adviser was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to embezzlement and stealing money from clients.

Ernest Romer III was sentenced to seven to 20 years in prison after spending $3 million of his clients' money on himself.

Romer, 57, has been behind bars since his arrest just over a year ago.

The Macomb County courtroom was filled with the 13 families he stole millions from. He admitted to using money for groceries and restaurants; and the victims' also said he used the money for Super Bowl tickets.

"He's lower than whale dung, so I'm just going to call him Mr. Dung," victim Robert Kowalewski said.

The victims said they were hard working people who trusted Romer and he betrayed them. Some gave him Christmas gifts and things like television sets.

"You went from that boy as an Eagle Scout to a monster preying on senior citizens. It's unbelievable. You have no conscience. You stand there like a chunk of stone," victim Robert Tyrell said.

Mary Ann Chirco's father left her a couple hundred thousand dollars that he invested with Romer, and now that money is gone.

"Anxiety, sleepwalks. I'm crabby and nervous. It has affected the family. Because of this, I can't send my grandson to college. (I'm) 67 years old and not going to be able to retire," Chirco said.

Incredibly, Romer claimed he'd been making $40,000 a month for the last 10 years and was trying to pay clients back.

"I want to apologize, though you don't believe it. I tried to repay clients," Romer said. "Lost everything, ethics, integrity."

Prosecutors said Romer was a deplorable liar.

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