What You Need to Know
- The ex-broker allegedly embezzled more than $1 million from a client’s retirement account.
- The client's home entered foreclosure because he thought the advisor was making mortgage payments on his behalf.
- The last firm that the former broker was registered with was SunTrust Investment Services.
A former broker was charged with federal wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a fraud scheme in which he allegedly embezzled more than $1 million from a client’s retirement account, leaving him with a $63,000 tax bill and his home in foreclosure, according to Jonathan F. Lenzner, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.
A criminal complaint was filed against Eddy Blizzard, 42, of Perry Hall, Maryland, on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and was unsealed upon Blizzard’s initial appearance Friday.
The last firm that Blizzard worked for was SunTrust Investment Services (now Truist), where he was a registered rep from 2014-2017, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.
He was discharged July 27, 2017, because SunTrust alleged that he violated the firm’s policy and procedures related to trade execution and error reporting, according to BrokerCheck.
Truist declined to comment on Tuesday.
FINRA suspended Blizzard on June 29, 2018, because he allegedly “failed to comply with an arbitration award or settlement agreement or to satisfactorily respond to a FINRA request to provide information concerning the status of compliance,” it said.
Blizzard never joined another firm and is no longer registered as a broker or RIA, according to BrokerCheck. He started his career with UBS in 2001, his BrokerCheck report shows.
Client Meetings, in a Car
According to the affidavit filed Wednesday in support of the criminal complaint against Blizzard, his “victim,” identified only as “R.M.,” was a resident of Maryland who was 75 years old in January 2020. On Dec. 12, 2019, R.M. was interviewed as part of the investigation.
R.M stated to investigators that, in 2003, after about 40 years of service with an air conditioning company, he took a buyout and retired. Six months later, R.M. decided to invest his retirement funds to provide an inheritance for his grandchildren, according to the affidavit. R.M. sought investment advice from “Bank 1,” where he had his depository accounts and where Blizzard started working shortly after R.M. started investing there.
Blizzard became R.M.’s advisor and, in about 2005, Blizzard told the client that he started working as an independent advisor and asked R.M. if he wanted to leave Bank 1 and use Blizzard as a full-time advisor. Blizzard allegedly told R.M. that it would be a while before he had his own office, but he would continue to work out of the Bank 1 branch in Catonsville, Maryland.
A review of publicly available FINRA records showed that Blizzard never went to work as an independent advisor, according to the affidavit.
About once a month, R.M. would drive from his new home in Chester, Maryland, to meet with Blizzard at Bank 1 in Catonsville, about one hour away; but R.M. and Blizzard would meet in Blizzard’s car, not the office, according to the affidavit. The meetings lasted 30-45 minutes and R.M. was never told why they were meeting in Blizzard’s car.