The US Department of Justice announced on April 23, 2019 that it has arrested Raleigh, North Carolina’s Furman Ford, who has been charged with 11 counts each of wire fraud and mail fraud in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
According to the Department of Justice, Mr. Ford engaged in a scheme from August to December 2014 in which he “committed Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud based on the defendant’s scheme to submit fraudulent withdrawal letters on behalf of an elderly victim to New York Life Insurance (NYL) for payments totaling $246,000.” At the time, he was employed as a financial adviser at New York Life Insurance.
The charges against Mr. Ford note that his alleged victim in 2009 inherited property, valued at $1.3 million, from a relative in North Carolina. Mr. Ford allegedly helped this person establish a charitable trust via New York Life Insurance using the proceeds of the inheritance, and this trust allegedly provided the victim with an annuity of $6,000 per month. The charges state that Mr. Ford’s responsibilities as agent included the drafting and submission of authorized letters of withdrawal from the victim’s account to cover expenses. The charges note that firm guidelines require agents to “have the client sign the letter with ‘wet ink’ before submitting” the letters to New York Life Insurance, after which the funds in question would be wired to their recipients “as directed by the client with their full knowledge and consent.”