An employee of a Westport investment firm has been sentenced to prison on a federal charge of defrauding more than 20 of his clients.

Michael Lombardo Jr., 38, of Stamford was sentenced last week by Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to a prison term of one year and a day, followed by three years of supervised release, according to Tom Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the state.

According to court documents and statements made in open court, Lombardo worked for David Lerner Associates, Inc., a Westport-based investment firm. Lombardo provided financial advice to clients with respect to their retirement savings and other investments, according to the news release.

From approximately September 2011 to last February, Lombardo defrauded more than 20 clients by diverting more than $190,000 in client funds for his personal use, prosecutors said.

As part of his scheme, Lombardo submitted fraudulent requests to disburse a portion of clients' retirement accounts, according to the release. He would ask the checks be sent, typically by overnight mail, to him at his Westport office. After he received a check, he would forge the client's signature on the back of the check and then deposit the check in his personal bank account, prosecutors said.

As part of his sentence, Lombardo was ordered to pay $191,068.73 in restitution.

Lombardo pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Sept. 11.

The case was investigated by the Westport Police Department and the United States Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller.