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Press Release

Raleigh Man Sentenced for Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Identity Theft for Stealing from Elderly Client

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. – A Raleigh man was sentenced today to 132 months in prison for eleven counts of mail fraud, eleven counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  On March 10, 2021, Furman Alexander Ford, 52, was convicted of the charges

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Furman Alexander Ford, was a New York Life (NYL) financial advisor who was advising a 72-year-old client who had recently inherited real property valued at $1.3 million.

Ford assisted in the sale of the property and the setting-up of a charitable annuity trust with NYL using the sale proceeds.  Ford worked as an insurance and financial agent at NYL, and the victim was his primary client while employed at NYL.  As part of Ford’s responsibility as the victim’s financial agent, he drafted and submitted letters of withdrawal from the client’s annuity account to pay for certain expenses.   The funds would then be electronically wired to the recipient as directed by the client with their full knowledge and consent.

During the investigation, agents identified twenty separate fraudulent letters of withdrawal drafted by Ford and submitted to NYL headquarters in New York, NY, on behalf of Ms. Jones.  The letters were all mailed by Ford from his office in Raleigh.  The funds requested ranged from $5,000 to $45,000 and totaled over $376,000.  The proceeds were then electronically wired by NYL to Ford’s personal checking account.  An FBI financial analysis traced the funds to the purchase by Ford of various personal items, including a BMW vehicle, Rolex watches, firearms, child support, and a cruise to the Bahamas. On December 29, 2014, Ford withdrew an additional $1 million from his client’s annuity account.  In total, Ford stole over $1.3 million from the elderly victim.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The United States Postal Inspectors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan A. Ontjes and former Special Assistant United States Attorney Tamika Moses prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:20-cr-00351-FL-1.

Updated February 3, 2022

Elder Justice