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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Louisville Attorney Sentenced To 48 Months In Federal Prison For Money Laundering Scheme And Defrauding Estates Of More Than $1.6 Million

Ordered to pay $1,602,327.14 to multiple victims including $268,459.06 to St. Mary’s Church and $245,993.67 to WHAS Crusade for Children

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. announced today that David Cary Ford, 54, of Louisville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison following his conviction on criminal counts of wire fraud and money laundering, stemming from Ford’s actions while he was a practicing attorney and the executor of seven estates in Louisville. 

“Attorneys are professionally and ethically bound to serve their clients’ best interests,” stated U.S. Attorney John Kuhn.  “We simply cannot tolerate attorneys or any other fiduciaries using their positions of trust to steal from those they are obligated to protect.  This prosecution serves the principle of justice and vindicates the breach of a trust that is an absolutely essential component of a multitude of professional relationships.”  

Ford previously pled guilty to charges alleging that from November 6, 2008, through February 11, 2015, Ford, while serving as executor of the estates of Saundra A. Benzinger, Kenneth L. Keith, William T. Lawson, Mary Helen Pfeffer, Elinor E. Starr, Mary Augustine Starr, and Richard Steinmetz, defrauded those estates of approximately $1,666,671.18, and used those estates’ funds for personal expenses and enjoyment, including significant gambling activity.

Ford also pled guilty to laundering proceeds of his fraud by using funds belonging to one estate to conceal the depletion of funds from another estate.  In pleading guilty, Ford admitted using his escrow account for this purpose with the intent to promote the carrying on of his fraud and to conceal or disguise the nature of the proceeds of his fraud.

As part of his sentence, Ford was ordered to pay over $1.6 million in restitution to 21 different victims who would have received that amount, according to bequests in the wills written by the individuals whose estates were defrauded, if not for Ford’s fraud.  Those victims and the restitution they are owed include $245,993.67 that would have gone to the WHAS Crusade For Children and $5,598.59 for the Little Sisters of the Poor. 

The restitution order also includes several Catholic religious organizations.  Local victims included St. Mary’s Church ($268,459.06), St. Francis of Assisi Church ($44,743.18), Holy Family Catholic Church ($2,799.30), Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church ($2,799.30) and the Archdiocese of Louisville ($89,486.35). 

Other victims included the Passionist Community ($245,993.67), the Passionist Nuns ($245,993.67), the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton ($134,229.53), the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, Inc. ($134,229.53), the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc. ($44,743.18), the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s ($44,743.18), the Nazareth Literary and Benevolent Institution, Inc. ($44,743.18). 

In addition, restitution was ordered for seven individuals, named only by their initials in court documents, who would have received bequests from the wills at issue if not for Ford's fraud.  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason Snyder, and it results from an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated September 6, 2016