Fired Raymond James advisor accused of defrauding WWII veteran out of $900,000: SEC, DOJ
The SEC and Department of Justice accused a fired Raymond James advisor of defrauding two clients — one a now-deceased World War II veteran — of more than $900,000.
The regulator filed civil charges this month against Federick Stow, whom Raymond James terminated in 2019 for allegedly “misappropriating funds from customer accounts,” according to a note in his FINRA BrokerCheck record. In a related action, the Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Stow in a federal court in Nashville.
“Mr. Stow has been fully cooperating with both the SEC’s and DOJ’s investigations from the outset and looks forward to resolving these matters,” Stow’s attorney, Ty E. Howard, said in a statement.
Stow, 65, was the veteran’s advisor for more than three decades. Beginning in October 2015, Stow began making unauthorized sales of securities from the client’s IRA, according to the regulator, which filed its legal complaint in a federal court in Nashville.
Stow allegedly transferred the proceeds to his own bank account on 74 occasions using falsified wire transfer forms, according to the SEC. Ultimately, Stow stole more than $900,00 from the client, the regulator says. Upon the veteran’s death at age 98 in March 2019, the accounts were frozen. Stow then allegedly misappropriated $32,000 from another elderly client using similar methods, the SEC says.
Neither client was named in court records.
"As alleged in our complaint, Stow took advantage of these seniors, abusing his access to their brokerage accounts to generate income for himself," Justin Jeffries, associate regional director for the SEC's Atlanta regional office, saidin a statement.
Stow started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1979, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He later worked at Baird and Wells Fargo before moving to Raymond James in 2013. In January, FINRA barred him from the industry for failing to respond to requests for information.
The ex-Cool Springs, Tennessee advisor has no other disclosures on his BrokerCheck.
A Raymond James spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.
If convicted in the criminal case, Stow faces up to 20 years in a prison and a fine of up to $5 million, according to the Justice Department.
The number of World War II veterans is dwindling. There were fewer than 500,000 alive as of 2018, down from 5.7 million in 2000, according to the Census Bureau.
"Far too often, veterans and seniors who depend on their investments for retirement income are targeted by fraudulent schemes," Jeffries said in the SEC’s statement.