The trust was created to pay the victim $6,000 per month during her lifetime, Acker said. “As part of Ford’s responsibility as the victim’s financial agent, he drafted and submitted authorized letters of withdrawal from her annuity account to pay for certain expenses,” according to Acker.
NYL customer service guidelines required that the financial agent have the client sign a withdrawal letter in person with “wet ink” before submitting it to NYL by mail. The funds would then be electronically wired to the recipient as directed by the client with their full knowledge and consent, according to Acker.
During the investigation, agents identified 20 separate fraudulent letters of withdrawal drafted by Ford and submitted to NYL headquarters in New York on behalf of the client, Acker said. The letters were all mailed by Ford through UPS from his office in Raleigh. The funds requested ranged from $5,000 to $45,000 and totaled more than $400,000, according to Acker.
The proceeds were then electronically wired by NYL to Ford’s personal checking account, Acker said, noting the money was used by the broker for personal products and services. “An FBI financial analysis traced the funds to the purchase by Ford of various personal items, including a BMW vehicle, Rolex watches, firearms, child support, and a cruise to the Bahamas,” Acker said.
On Dec. 29, 2014, Ford withdrew $1 million from the client’s annuity account, according to Acker.
“Integrity and trust are characteristics that all financial agents should embody,” Acker said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the defendant used his position to prey upon one of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and today he was held accountable for his criminal actions.”