Insurance Broker Defrauds Seniors Out Of Annuity Funds
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – William Edward Lowder, age 57, of Williamsburg, Michigan, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false federal income tax return, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today. U.S. Attorney Miles was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III of the FBI, and Sheriff Thomas Bensley of the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office.
According to a Felony Information filed on January 9, 2013, Lowder was a licensed insurance agent and annuities producer who operated as Lowder Insurance and Ash Brokerage. Beginning in 2001, Lowder began defrauding several of his elderly clients by convincing them to liquidate existing annuity investments under the promise that the proceeds would be reinvested in annuities earning higher rates of return. After the clients liquidated their annuities, Lowder convinced them to provide the proceeds directly to him for reinvestment. Instead of reinvesting the proceeds, Lowder deposited the proceeds into his own bank account. To conceal his fraud, Lowder provided these clients with false statements of account.
“Vigorous prosecution of professionals who commit financial crimes remains one of the top priorities of this Office,” said U.S. Attorney Miles. “This case is especially troubling given that Mr. Lowder stole significant amounts of money from elderly clients who, like most citizens, rely upon their limited investments to provide for their financial security.” FBI Special Agent in Charge, Robert D. Foley III, agreed, stating “those who target elderly victims, many of whom live on a fixed income, rob them of their hard-earned savings and their security. The FBI is committed to stopping predatory scams against seniors.”
Between 2001 and 2009, Lowder stole in excess of one million dollars from his clients, which he used to fund his own comfortable lifestyle. As part of his plea, Lowder admitted that he did not claim the amounts stolen from his clients as income on his U.S. individual income tax returns from 2006 to 2009, despite knowing that he had an obligation to do so.
“There is never a time when it is okay to steal from someone, especially our seniors. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to finding these perpetrators and pursuing them to the full extent of the law,” said Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez..