Frederick Stow, a Franklin resident and former investments vice president at Raymond James & Associates, has been charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft by the U.S. Department of Justice after it alleged that Stow stole $933,500 from two elderly clients.
The charges were announced in a June news release by U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Don Cochran. According to the statement, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also filed a civil action against Stow, alleging violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
“The conduct alleged here is detestable,” Cochran said. “Protecting our senior citizens from fraudsters like this is one of our highest priorities.”
The release cites the charging document, which alleges that beginning in 1982, Stow acted as the registered representative for three brokerage accounts owned by a client who was a retired airline pilot and WWII-era veteran.
The DOJ alleges that as Stow changed firms numerous times the unidentified client transferred his account with Stow throughout the years as he joined Raymond James in 2013.
According to the release, Stow is believed to have “inserted himself into the personal and financial affairs of this client and in the later years of the client’s life,” and they allege, that in October 2015 Stow began misappropriating funds from his client’s IRA account by forging wire transfer letters of authorization to permit transfers from the client’s IRA account to a bank account that Stow owned jointly with his wife.
Investigators allege that Stow also began selling securities in the client’s IRA account and transferring the proceeds to Stow’s own bank account, and that by the time of his client’s death at the age of 98 in March 2018, prosecutors say that Stow had made 74 unauthorized transfers and stolen more than $900,000 from the man.
The charging documents also allege that within weeks of this client’s death, Stow stole $32,000 from another elderly brokerage customer by transferring money from the customer’s brokerage account to another bank account that Stow owned.
If convicted, the DOJ said, Stow faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million.
The government also seeks a monetary judgement and the forfeiture of any property derived from the proceeds of the criminal conduct.
According to the release, the case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the SEC, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Toussaint will prosecuting the case.