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N.H. adviser accused of bilking clients

CONCORD, N.H. — A longtime financial adviser bilked the widowed friends of his wife and mother out of more than $1 million to fund a lavish lifestyle including yacht docking fees and private school tuition for his children, according to federal prosecutors.

Frederick McMenimen III of Exeter will go on trial in January, after a federal judge this month found him mentally competent to stand trial. He was deemed incompetent in June and was committed to federal custody for psychiatric treatment at a medical facility in North Carolina.

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McMenimen, 50, has pleaded not guilty to charges of mail fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and interstate transportation of goods obtained by fraud. He declined to comment outside of court.

Assistant US Attorney William Morse argued for an earlier trial date, saying the elderly victims were stripped of their life savings, are anxious to see justice done, and could forget details when questioned in court.

‘‘Their memories are not improving,’’ Morse said.

But Judge Steven McAuliffe deferred to public defender Bjorn Lange’s request for postponement, noting the dwindling resources and staff at the public defenders’ office. Lange was appointed by McAuliffe after McMenimen’s financial affidavit showed he couldn’t afford a private lawyer.

Lange declined to comment on the case.

Morse would not say how many women are involved, and the October 2012 indictment doesn’t identify the victims.

Court documents describe them as ‘‘financially unsophisticated’’ women who placed a great deal of trust in McMenimen. Prosecutors say McMenimen directed them — all residents of New Hampshire — to liquidate life insurance annuities and other investments and turn them over to him.

The indictment says McMenimen convinced the women to write him checks totaling in excess of $1 million between 2007 and 2011. Rather than invest the money as he claimed he would, prosecutors say he put more than $134,000 toward his home mortgage, made $350,000 in credit card payments and $120,000 in tuition payments, and spent more than $31,000 to dock and accessorize his yacht.

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