Financial Adviser Headed to Trial for Stealing $120K from Client

CLEARFIELD – A financial adviser from Ramey accused of stealing $120,000 from a client’s annuity and depositing it into his business account in October of 2010 had all charges held for court after a preliminary hearing Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

Frank Charles Stewart, 47, of Ramey has been charged with forgery/ unauthorized act in writing, three counts; forgery/utters forged writing, three counts; theft by unlawful taking; theft by deception; receiving stolen property; and access device issued to another person who didn’t authorize use.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Oct. 26, 2010, Stewart deposited a check into his business account that belonged to the victim. The check was from an annuity that the victim had invested in through Stewart’s business, Best Financial. Stewart also forged the victim’s signature on documents to obtain the check from Sun Life Financial.

The Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. obtained several documents. The primary focus has been on a CNB Check, a policy/contract receipt, a handwritten note by Stewart on Oct. 25, 2010, an annuity withdrawal form and a check from Sun Life Financial, the affidavit states.

On Aug. 27, 2012, state police met with representatives at the CCAAA who provided several documents in relation to the victim. These documents included Power of Attorney information, checking and savings account information, items for a Sun Life Financial annuity, a check from Sun Life Financial and a handwritten note from Stewart.

On Sept. 6, 2012, state police met with the victim. During the interview, the aforementioned documents were shown to her. Each document contained the victim’s signature, and she looked over them.  When asked she acknowledged the signature on a CNB Bank check and a policy/contract receipt as hers.

The victim hadn’t seen the other three documents and indicated the signature was not hers. When asked she said she hadn’t permitted Stewart to withdraw $120,000 from the annuity, the affidavit states.

On Sept. 16, 2012, state police interviewed Stewart at the Clearfield barracks. During the course of the interview, he wouldn’t admit any wrongdoing on his part. When shown the same documents as the victim, he claimed that all of the signatures belonged to the victim.

When asked about handling a check from Sun Life Financial, Stewart claimed he cashed it. He told state police he took the victim to M&T Bank, Houtzdale, to cash it, because the victim didn’t want anyone to know she had that much money. Stewart said he cashed the check while the victim stayed in the car.

State police showed Stewart the back of the check from Sun Life Financial. The check showed, “deposit only.” State police told him that he neither cashed it nor gave it to the victim.  Then, Stewart said he deposited the check into his business account but paid the victim $120,000 from his safe at home.

Earlier in the interview, Stewart was shown a copy of the acknowledgement sheet that he signed when he was given Power of Attorney. He was asked if he was aware that he’d violated the Power of Attorney by comingling his funds with that of the victim. Stewart didn’t believe so, as he’d given the victim cash.

When asked if he could prove he’d given the victim cash, Stewart said he could not. When told the only thing that could be proven was he’d taken $120,000 from the victim, Stewart claimed he’d given $30,000 cash to the victim to put in her safe deposit box at CNB Bank, Madera.

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