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Former Md. Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty To $2.8M Fraud Scheme

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A former Maryland insurance agent and financial planner pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to defraud clients of more than $2.8 million.

According to his plea agreement, from February 2006 through March 2015, Jonathan Williams, 48, of Boston, MA., worked as a New York Life insurance agent and was licensed to sell insurance in Maryland, and registered with the Financial Industry and Regulatory Authority.

Williams admitted that from 2009 to 2015, Williams deceived New York Life and its customers and fraudulently obtained more than $2.8 million.

At his direction, customers paid money to entities with bank accounts that Williams controlled, including Advanced Retirement Solutions, Jonathan Williams Financial Planning, and Mid-Atlantic Financial.

He then used the victim funds to make cash withdrawals, to pay personal and business expenses, to pay employees, to take vacations and other miscellaneous expenses.

Williams misrepresented too one small business that he was creating a defined benefit plan for the company's employees by purchasing life insurance, long-term policies and other investments.

In 2015, after more than five years, the business learned that Williams never created the benefit plan. In addition to the money he took from the business, he caused New York Life and the small business to incur substantial costs to recreate the benefit plan and avoid "arduous tax consequences" stemming from Williams' illegal conduct.

He also admitted he provided fake certificate of deposit account statements to another victim, but never invested the client's money.

The victim lost more than $350,000, and a third victim, a US Navy member, invested $100,000 with Williams, for him to establish investment accounts with Fidelity.

Williams lied to the victim in emails, claiming the money was invested with Fidelity.

According to his plea, an account was never created for the victim at Fidelity and Williams used the victim's money for his personal enrichment.

Williams provided phony bank records in March 2015 to New York Life after officials quested Williams about his financial transactions with New York Life customers.

Even after losing his license to sell insurance in May 2015, Williams continued to mislead clients, telling one client in July 2016 he was leaving New York Life to work for another company.

New York Life then fired him and paid to settle with victims of Williams' fraud.

Williams faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud. His sentencing is set for August 7.

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