Rogue Advisors on Parade

A Dover, Massachusetts life broker is going to jail for filing fraudulent tax returns. The broker, Anthony J. May, 62, was sentenced to eight months in prison and a year of supervised release after being convicted for failing to disclose commissions and other income on his federal tax returns. May owned two businesses: a life insurance agency and a life settlement brokerage, both operated out of an office suite in Hingham, Massachusetts. According to IRS investigators, May filed false income tax returns from 2006 through 2009, concealing $735,000 in income from insurance commissions, broker fees, and lease rental payments.

A former life insurance agent from Lubbock, Texas has received a life prison sentence for scamming his senior clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to investigators from the Texas Department of Insurance, Joseph Gaines sold annuities to a number of West Texas senior citizens only to confiscate their payments and use them for his own purposes. One of his victims was a 94-year-old woman who gave Gaines a $700,000 check in return for annuity coverage. However, when her family became suspicious, they called the insurer, which advised them they had no record of the woman’s purchase.

A San Diego life insurance agent submitted a guilty plea in February 2018 for stealing $1.5 million from senior citizens and other clients. The agent sold them various investment funds, but instead of passing their checks to the appropriate investment firms, he used them to buy personal items such as a luxury car, jewelry, and three rental properties.  The agent, Shawn Heffernan, 43, is facing a nine-year state prison sentence after his sentencing on March 7, 2018. According to authorities, Heffernan began his scams by selling clients annuities. However, before the policies expired, he would persuade them to replace the policies with new ones, generating new commissions for himself and surrender penalties for his clients. He also persuaded other clients to cash out their annuity policies and give him the proceeds for investing in other instruments. However, rather than making the promised investments, he pocketed the money, using it to buy a Maserati sports car, jewelry, and real estate. He also used Ponzi techniques to fulfill redemption requests from prior clients with new-client money.

To read more about ethical business practices, visit the Ethics Center at the National Ethics Association, sponsor of EOforLess.