Insurance Agent Sentenced To Prison In Annuities Scam Targeting Elderly

June 3, 2013

BrokeAndBroker reports about scams targeting elderly investors. Regrettably, there has been far too much to comment about in recent years.  I offer this current article as a warning to senior citizens who are dazzled by the prospects of flipping one annuity for another -- and as a wake-up call to those who are concerned about the financial affairs of their grandparents and parents.  Too good to be true is quite often just that. 

The Promise Of Bigger Returns

Starting in 2001, William Edward Lowder, 57, Williamsburg, MI,  a licensed insurance agent and annuities producer who operated as Lowder Insurance and Ash Brokerage convinced several of his elderly clients to liquidate their existing annuities.  Under some circumstances, such a recommendation may be appropriate but those circumstances are, at best, extremely limited.  As will be clear, Lowder's proposal was not such an appropriate circumstance.

The Con Game

On the surface, Lowder proposed that after his elderly clients had liquidated their annuities, he would reinvest the proceeds in different annuities with higher rates of returns. In fact, from 2001 through 2009, Lowder simply stole over $1 million in proceeds and deposited the sums into his own bank account. In an effort to cover his trail, he provided his victims with fabricated statements showing bogus reinvestments.  To compound his problems, Lowder also failed to file his ill-gotten gains as income on his federal individual tax returns from 2006 to 2009.

The Plea

On January 9, 2013, Lowder pled guilty to a felony Information in the Western District of Michigan and faced  a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for his wire fraud and three years' imprisonment for filing a false tax return. He will also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims.

The Sentence

On May 29, 2013, Lowder was sentenced to 60 months in prison for wire fraud and a concurrent 36 months in prison for filing a false 2008 tax return. During sentencing, the Court emphasized the significant duration of Lowder's fraud and his repeated failure to re-pay any of his victims. As part of his sentence, Lowder was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,567,908 and to complete 300 hours of community service after serving his sentence of imprisonment.

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