Businessman Sentenced to 87 Months in Federal Prison for $4.6 Million Fraud Scheme
DALLAS —Wesley Michael Woodyard, 66, most recently from Dallas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to 87 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to defraud Ace European Insurance Company (ACE) located in London, England of more than $4.6 million from approximately 2002 through 2013, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Woodyard pleaded guilty in December 2016 to one count of wire fraud. Woodyard has been in custody since the time of his arrest in Minnesota in June 2016. Judge Fitzwater also order Woodyard to pay $3,943,179 in restitution and serve a three year term of supervised release following his release from federal prison.
According to documents filed in the case, Woodyard owned and operated Ringler Associates of North Texas, Incorporated (RANT). From approximately 1993 through 2015, RANT contracted with Ringler Insurance Agency to act as its agent to sell annuities provided by insurance underwriters whose products were offered for sale through Ringler Insurance Agency.
Ringler Associates, Incorporated (RAI) acted as a parent company for Ringler Insurance Agency and other subsidiaries conducting insurance business on behalf of RAI.
RANT settled insurance claims primarily by selling structured settlements (through annuities) offered for sale through Ringler Insurance Agency. The beneficiaries of these annuities were frequently victims of long term disability related injuries and/or death related to employment. While a policy beneficiary could choose to take a lump sum payment from the insurance company, usually the beneficiary agreed to be compensated through a structured settlement. The annuity would pay the beneficiary a set amount either monthly, quarterly or annually, for an extended period of time, often for the life of the beneficiary. Annuities usually offered the most cost-effective means for an insurance company to pay out a structured settlement. RANT sold annuities available on the open market through Ringler Insurance Agency.
According plea documents, during 2002 through 2013, Woodyard devised a scheme to defraud and to obtain money and property by false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. Woodyard engaged in a pattern of deceitful conduct and made false representations designed to fraudulently induce representatives of Ace European Insurance Company (ACE) to send 11 wire transfers totaling approximately $4,674,258 to one or more bank accounts controlled by Woodyard. ACE initially sent these funds to companies acting as a third party administrator who then transferred the ACE funds to Woodyard. As charged in the indictment, Woodyard stole $4.6 million which was intended to be used to purchase annuities for beneficiaries of ACE European insurance policies. The beneficiaries directly impacted by Woodyard’s extensive and lengthy scheme were United Nations employees who were either injured or killed in connection with their employment.
Woodyard falsely represented to ACE, as well as third party administrators Roger Rich and Company, and Vanbreda International, that Woodyard intended to lawfully use all funds received from ACE to purchase several life insurance annuity contracts from Metropolitan Life, Incorporated or some other legitimate insurance company. Woodyard also caused ACE funds to be sent from Roger Rich and Vanbreda directly to RANT rather than to the annuity provider and thus denied Ringler Insurance Agency its commission earned for the transaction. Woodyard fraudulently concealed from ACE and others that Woodyard unlawfully used the majority of ACE funds for Woodyard’s own personal financial benefit. As a result of this scheme, from 2002 through 2013, Woodyard fraudulently obtained a total of about $4,674,258 from ACE European Insurance Company.
As charged in the indictment, Woodyard made a total of about $857,626 in so-called “lulling payments” during the period from October 2004 through June 2014. These lulling payments were made by Woodyard in an effort to give beneficiaries the false impression that Woodyard had actually purchased legitimate insurance annuity contracts for these beneficiaries. Woodyard made these lulling payments in order to make detection of his extensive 11 year scheme more difficult. For restitution purposes, Woodyard was given credit for these lulling payments. Including all relevant conduct losses and credits, Woodyard was ordered to pay total restitution of $3,943,179.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis prosecuted.
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