HomeLife InsuranceEx-Advisor Who Lied About Attempting Suicide Gets 3.5 Years for Bilking Client

Ex-Advisor Who Lied About Attempting Suicide Gets 3.5 Years for Bilking Client

What You Need to Know

  • The client faced home foreclosure after the advisor failed to make mortgage payments as promised, the DOJ says.
  • The client had worked 40 years for an air conditioning company and couldn’t read.
  • The advisor used his car, rather than his bank employer’s office, to meet with the client.

A former Maryland financial advisor who lied about attempting suicide has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in federal prison for stealing an elderly client’s life savings.

Eddy Ray Blizzard, 45, who made a plea agreement, stole nearly $1 million from a now-deceased client, “R.M.,” over many years, causing the man’s home to go into foreclosure a few months before he died in 2020, the Justice Department announced earlier this month.

R.M., who had a ninth grade education and couldn’t read or write, started investing and became Blizzard’s client shortly after taking a buyout and retiring in 2003 following a 40-year career as a commercial air conditioning installer in Maryland, according to the department.

The client died in 2020 when he was roughly 75 years old, the year after his house was foreclosed on because Blizzard hadn’t made promised mortgage payments,. according to the Justice Department, which said the former advisor also stole some of R.M.’s Social Security income.

“Eddy Blizzard deserves every year he will spend behind bars. His cruel and calculated scheme went on for years and his brazen deception caused great harm to the victim and his family,” William J. DelBagno, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, said.

“The victim spent his life working diligently, saving for retirement, and building an inheritance for his loved ones. Blizzard not only stole a million dollars, but took away their security and peace of mind. The FBI will not stand idly by as fraudsters and cheats take advantage of our elderly citizens. We, along with our law enforcement partners, vow to identify, investigate and pursue those targeting vulnerable people in Maryland,” he said.

Blizzard admitted that after becoming the client’s financial advisor, he began asking R.M. for signed blank checks, according to prosecutors.

The advisor used the checks for personal purposes, not to benefit R.M., who visited his local bank to withdraw cash about 12 times and was told the account lacked sufficient funds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland said.

R.M. would then call Blizzard to let him know about the deficiency, and Blizzard would tell him to wait a day or two and funds would be there, prosecutors said.

Blizzard held several licenses that allowed him to operate as a registered broker and investment advisor, according to the plea agreement. From 2003 to 2014, he was employed by a bank securities company, or “Bank 1,” and from 2014 to 2017 was employed by a bank investment services company, “Bank 2,” both in Maryland, the Justice Department noted.

Blizzard was registered with M&T Securities Inc. for the former period and SunTrust Investment Services for the latter, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck.

When R.M. retired and decided to invest his retirement funds to provide his grandchildren with an inheritance, he sought investment advice from Bank 1, where he had his depository accounts, prosecutors said.

Blizzard began working at Bank 1 shortly after R.M. began investing there and became his  financial advisor. Blizzard has admitted that in about 2005, he told R.M. that he “went out on his own” as an independent financial advisor and asked R.M. if the client wanted to leave Bank 1 and use Blizzard as a full-time financial advisor, prosecutors said.