A former representative for New York Life Securities has been sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was convicted of stealing over $1.3 million from an elderly client, ThinkAdvisor reports.
52-year-old Furman Alexander Ford of Raleigh, North Carolina was found guilty by a federal jury in March 2021 on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
As a field agent for New York Life in Raleigh, Ford was assisting a 72-year-old client who had inherited property worth $1.3 million. After the sale of the property, he helped the woman set up a charitable annuity trust with the sale proceeds. As her financial agent, Ford was to submit letters of withdrawal from the annuity account to help with the client’s expenses, with the funds to be electronically wired to the client.
But FBI agents determined during an investigation that Ford had drafted 20 fraudulent letters on behalf of the victim requesting fund withdrawals that were submitted to NYLife headquarters in New York. The withdrawals, totaling over $376,000, were then found to have sent to Ford’s personal checking account and used to pay for personal items, including a BMW vehicle, Rolex watches, firearms, child support and a cruise to the Bahamas.
Prosecutors said he withdrew an additional $1 million from the annuity account in December 2014.
Ford was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan in federal court in North Carolina. A New York Life spokesman said the victim was reimbursed for her losses.
Securities fraud takes on many forms, including when financial professionals perpetrate fraud through the misuse or misappropriation of investment funds. The elder financial abuse attorneys at Lewitas Hyman routinely represent investors harmed by the misconduct of financial professionals and their firms. If you think your financial professional or firm engaged in misconduct that caused you investment losses, contact Lewitas Hyman at (312) 291-4600 or through our online contact form for a no-cost evaluation of your matter.