Self-styled “Financial Advisor” Charged with Defrauding Professional Athlete Victims Out of Millions
HOUSTON – A woman claiming to be a financial advisor and money manager has been arrested on allegations she defrauded former NFL football player Ricky Williams and three other professional athlete victims out of millions of dollars, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Peggy Ann Fulford, 58, formerly of Houston and now residing in New Orleans, is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.
Fulford has been known to use several aliases, such as:
She was taken into custody today in New Orleans where she will make her initial appearance. She is expected to appear in Houston shortly thereafter.
A federal grand jury in Houston returned the eight-count indictment Dec. 13, 2016, which was unsealed upon her arrest today.
According to the indictment, Fulford falsely told victims she was a Harvard-educated financial advisor and money manager. She offered to manage their expenses for them and use their money exclusively to pay their bills, including their income tax payments, and/or to make retirement investments for them, according to the allegations. Instead, Fulford allegedly diverted millions of victim funds that she laundered through dozens of bank accounts to pay for her own personal expenses.
The indictment alleges Fulford falsely told victims that she graduated from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School and that she had made millions on Wall Street, by buying and selling hospitals or on real estate in the Bahamas. She never requested a fee because she allegedly told the victims she already had millions of dollars and just wanted to protect them from losing their money.
Fulford failed to inform the victims that she used most of their money, or intended to use most of their money, for her own personal purposes, according to the allegations. Fulford allegedly communicated with victims in person, by phone and by email, inducing them to open or give her access to bank accounts which she raided and used for personal expenses such as luxury cars, real estate, jewelry and airline tickets.
In carrying out her scheme to defraud, the indictment specifically alleges victim funds were moved back and forth between various bank accounts. Fulford also allegedly purchased a cashier’s check with victim funds and sent closing documents related to the sale of some Houston real estate via federal express from Florida to Houston.
If convicted of either the mail or wire fraud charges, Fulford faces up to 20 years in federal prison. She also faces a maximum of 10 years if convicted of money laundering and interstate transportation of stolen property charge.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Belinda Beek is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.
The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.