Raleigh financial advisor convicted of stealing $1.3 million from elderly woman

Wake County News

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCN) – A federal jury convicted a Raleigh financial advisor who stole more than $1.3 million from an elderly woman he advised, according to a United States Department of Justice news release.

Furman Alexander Ford, 51, worked for New York Life as a financial advisor from 2012-2015. His primary client was the elderly victim who had inherited real property valued at $1.3 million. He assisted the victim in the sale and setting up a charitable annuity trust with New York Life, the release said.

The annuity would pay the 72-year-old woman $6,000 a month during her lifetime. As part of Ford’s responsibility as the woman’s financial agent, he would draft and submit authorized letters of withdrawal from her annuity account to cover certain expenses, the DOJ said.

However, agents investigated and discovered 20 separate fraudulent letters of withdrawal drafted by Ford and submitted to New York Life’s headquarters. They were all mailed by him via UPS from his Raleigh office.

Funds requested ranged from $5,000 to $45,000 and totaled more than $400,000. They were wired from New York Life to Ford’s personal checking account, the release said.

An FBI analysis traced those funds to personal purchases made by Ford. They included a BMW, Rolex watches, firearms, a cruise to the Bahamas, and child support, the DOJ said.

On Dec. 29, 2014, Ford withdrew $1 million from the victim’s annuity account. He stole more than $1.3 million in total.

Ford was convicted on 11 counts of mail fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum of 37 years in prison.

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