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Ex-NYLife Rep Gets 11-Year Prison Sentence for Stealing $1M From Client

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What You Need to Know

  • The former NYLife rep was convicted last year of 11 counts of mail fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
  • The ex-broker had faced a maximum penalty of 444 months in prison and ended up getting 132 months.
  • He spent the client's money on items including a BMW, Rolex watches, guns, child support payments and a cruise to the Bahamas.

The former NYLife Securities rep who was accused of stealing $1.3 million from a 72-year-old client in 2020 and found guilty in 2021 of 11 counts of mail fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Thursday for his scheme, according to court documents and the Department of Justice.

Furman Alexander Ford, 52, of Raleigh, North Carolina, had faced a maximum possible penalty of 444 months in prison, G. Norman Acker III, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said last year after Ford was convicted. The former rep ended up getting 132 months.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Ford was advising a 72-year-old client who had recently inherited real property valued at $1.3 million.

The former broker assisted in the sale of the property and the setting-up of a charitable annuity trust with NYL using the sale proceeds. The victim was his main client while employed at the firm, according to DOJ.

As part of Ford’s responsibility as the client’s financial agent, he drafted and submitted letters of withdrawal from the client’s annuity account to pay certain expenses. The funds were to then be electronically wired to the recipient as directed by the client with their full knowledge and consent.

During the investigation, however, FBI agents identified 20 separate fraudulent letters of withdrawal drafted by Ford and submitted to NYL headquarters in New York, on behalf of “Ms. Jones,” according to DOJ.

The letters were all mailed by Ford from his office in Raleigh. The sums requested ranged from $5,000 to $45,000 and totaled more than $376,000. The proceeds were then electronically wired by NYL to Ford’s personal checking account, DOJ said.

An FBI financial analysis traced the funds to Ford, who spent them on a BMW automobile, Rolex watches, guns, child support payments, a cruise to the Bahamas and other items.

On Dec. 29, 2014, Ford withdrew an additional $1 million from his client’s annuity account. Ford stole a total of over $1.3 million from the client, according to DOJ.

Ford was registered as a broker with NYLife Securities from October 2007 until April 2015, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. It was the last firm he was a registered broker with in his 12-year career.

“We fully cooperated with the appropriate authorities throughout these proceedings and reimbursed the victim for her losses,” Kevin B. Maher, a New York Life spokesman, told ThinkAdvisor on Friday.

Attorneys who represented Ford, according to court documents, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.