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Michigan annuity producer sentenced

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A Williamsburg, Mich., insurance agent was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison for defrauding elderly clients.

William Edward Lowder, 57, who operated Lowder Insurance, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell. The judge included a 36-month concurrent sentence on a separate charge of filing a false tax return in 2008.

Lowder was ordered to pay $1,567,908 in restitution and complete 300 hours of community service once he completes his sentence.

Many rogue advisors’ improprieties are for suggesting products that are not suitable for their clients, but Lowder’s operation contained elements of a Ponzi scheme. Lowder would approach his elderly clients and suggest they liquidate existing annuity investments under the guise that they would be reinvested in other annuities which would reap higher returns.

Rather than reinvesting the funds for the promised higher return, Lowder deposited them in his own bank account in order to fund a lavish lifestyle for his family and himself. He was able to perpetuate his scheme by providing clients with false statements of account.

From 2001 through 2009 Lowder stole more than $1 million from his clients.

Lowder’s prosecution and investigation were undertaken by a confluence of agencies. The Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office, the IRS and the FBI were all assisted by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Stella.

“The victims of Lowder’s schemes worked hard for their retirement and he stole their hard earned savings. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to pursuing those who perpetuate these crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric Martinez, IRS-Criminal Investigation.  


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