A Texas-based financial adviser has been convicted of a scheme involving the murder of his client, according to the Justice Department.
After a week-long jury trial, Keith Todd Ashley was found guilty of wire fraud, mail fraud, possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence and bank fraud, according to the DOJ. The federal trial followed Ashley’s arraignment in state court for murder Last year.
Ashley was a financial advisor at Parkland Securities for about 18 years, according to their BrokerCheck profileand has also worked as a registered nurse, life insurance agent, and owner of a brewery (he was fired from the company in 2020 and is under ongoing investigation by FINRA).
During the scheme, Ashley had “gone to great lengths to defraud clients who trusted him”, according to US attorney Brit Featherston, who called him a “depraved criminal”.
According to the original indictment, Ashley had defrauded clients for years by soliciting them to buy into unit investment trusts with guaranteed returns, but instead would keep some of the funds raised for his own use, including expenses for his fledgling brewery, in casinos, and credit card, mortgage, student loan and tuition payments, and other expenses. In total, Ashley had raised over $1.3 million in investor funds through the schemes.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, one of those clients was Ashley’s friend, James Seegan. Ashley eventually attempted to change the beneficiary of Seegan’s life insurance policy to a trust controlled by Ashley.
On February 19, 2020, Seegan was found dead in his home with a handgun in his left hand (although Seegan’s wife told police he was right-handed), with a typed suicide note, including that ‘Ashley is “helping” Seegan’s wife, according to Star-Telegram. After investigating, detectives found video footage showing Ashley visiting Seegan’s house that day, leaving after an hour but returning minutes later.
Ashley would have been the only person to visit until Seegan’s wife was reunited with her deceased husband later that day. Cops also ran drug tests on Seegan, finding he had etomidate in his system, which is an anesthetic agent used by medical professionals that can knock someone out quickly, according to the Star. -Telegram.
Police determined that Ashley killed Seegan and attempted to pass it off as suicide, the Star-Telegram reported.
According to the Justice Department, Ashley still tried to collect the life insurance policy, transferred funds from Seegan’s bank account to himself, and even tried to get a copy of Seegan’s autopsy report. .
“By plotting and causing the death of a client to steal his money, Ashley committed the ultimate betrayal of trust and decency and the jury saw Ashley for who he is, a con man who would go as far as murder to get what he wanted,” Featherston said.
Ashley faces life in prison following her conviction, according to the DOJ.