A former Investments Vice President at Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James), was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for stealing $933,500 from two elderly clients, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee.
66-Year-old Fredrick M. Stow of Franklin, Tennessee, was charged in June 2020 with securities fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft and pleaded guilty in August. In a separate action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil action against Stow, alleging violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
In sentencing Stow, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger issued a stern rebuke of those in a position of trust who manage investments for others, especially the elderly, and choose to steal from them. Judge Trauger also ordered a forfeiture money judgement in the amount of $933,500.
According to Court records, 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. Stow changed investment firms several times and the client elected to move his accounts with Stow each time, ultimately transferring his accounts to Raymond James when Stow joined the firm in 2013. Over time, Stow inserted himself into the financial affairs of this client and in the later years of the client’s life, he visited him at his home. Relatives at the hearing testified that the client died believing that his dwindling investment accounts were caused solely by stock market activity.
In October 2015, Stow began misappropriating funds from this client’s IRA account by forging wire transfer letters of authorization to permit transfers from the client’s IRA account to a SunTrust Bank account that Stow owned jointly with his wife. To accomplish the transfers, Stow sold securities in the client’s IRA account.
At the time of this client’s death at the age of 98 in March 2018, Stow had made 74 unauthorized transfers and had stolen more than $900,000 from him. 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 SunTrust bank account that Stow owned.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the SEC. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie N. Toussaint prosecuted the case.