West Palm Beach Investment Advisor Ordered to Pay Over $1 Million in Restitution for Fraud Scheme
On February 26, 2019, a West Palm Beach, Florida, investment advisor was ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution for his involvement in a pension trust fraud scheme.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Isabel Colon, Regional Director, United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL-EBSA), made the announcement.
William H. Minor, of West Palm, pleaded guilty in September 2018 to one count of mail fraud (Case No. 18-80152-Cr-Middlebrooks). On November 29, 2018, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release. On February 26, 2019, U.S. District Judge entered an Order, requiring Minor to pay $1,636,604 in restitution.
According to the court record, Minor was the operator of Multi Financial Insurance Corp., a provider of investment advice and administrative services for pension plans. Starting in 1991 and continuing until June 2016, Minor transferred approximately $2 million from the Rehabilitation Center for Children & Adults Inc. Pension Trust to accounts he controlled.
The Rehabilitation Center for Children & Adults Inc., a Palm Beach nonprofit rehabilitation center that provides outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy to children and adults, sponsored the plan. Minor served as a volunteer member of the center’s board of governors.
In October 1991, Minor moved plan assets to Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co., for which he registered as an insurance agent. Minor falsely represented to the rehabilitation center and plan trustees that Multi Financial would work in partnership with Transamerica Life to administer the plan, even though Transamerica had no partnership with Minor, and did not provide any administrative or record keeping services for the plan. As a result, Minor was able to exercise control of the plan.
Minor used that authority to direct one plan trustee to endorse benefit checks from Transamerica to Multi Financial, with the understanding that Minor would then issue payments to specified plan participants. In other instances, Minor forged the trustee’s name on the checks. Later in the scheme, Minor opened a bank account in the name of “Trustee for the Rehabilitation.” Since the checks were payable to the Trustee for the Rehabilitation, Minor could directly deposit the checks into this account without the endorsement of the plan trustee.
Minor made at least 63 fraudulent requests to Transamerica for lump sum benefits checks for participants not entitled to plan benefits. Transamerica honored the requests and issued 63 checks payable to the Trustee for the Rehabilitation. Minor deposited the first 15 checks into the Multi Financial account and the remaining 48 checks into the Trustee for the Rehabilitation account. In total, he fraudulently transferred approximately $2 million from the plan’s Transamerica account to his own accounts, using the plan’s assets to benefit himself.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and DOL-EBSA in this matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rabinowitz.