The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has filed a complaint against Keith Todd Ashley, a former Parkland Securities broker and Texas microbrewery owner who is incarcerated and awaiting trial for allegedly operating a Ponzi scheme and murdering one of his clients to gain control of his multi-million-dollar estate.
FINRA is seeking sanctions against Ashley, who spent roughly 18 years at Parkland before being fired in October 2020 for purportedly engaging in undisclosed outside business activities and private securities transactions. The regulator claims that Ashley repeatedly ignored its requests for information which were sent to the Bowie County Correctional Center in Texarkana where he is being held.
FINRA also began investigating the allegations in a November 2020 federal indictment, including whether Ashley defrauded investors or misappropriated funds.
In November 2020, Ashley was indicted by a federal grand jury on six counts of wire fraud for allegedly soliciting money from clients to invest in a unit investment trust (UIT) that he claimed had “guaranteed returns” and “no risk to the initial principal.” Instead of investing the funds, Ashley allegedly spent the more than $1 million he solicited on personal expenses, gambling at casinos, credit card payments, mortgage payments, college tuition and student loan payments.
One month after the wire fraud indictment, Ashley was indicted for the capital murder of James Seegan, a 62-year-old client who authorities believed died under suspicious circumstances. The indictment claims that he shot Seegan and staged the crime scene to appear as if it was a suicide.
According to court documents, on the morning of his death, Seegan had a meeting scheduled with Ashley to draw blood to use for his life insurance policy. Security cameras captured Ashley enter Seegan’s house at 9:30 a.m., and at 10:15, a loud noise activated the garage security camera. At 10:17 a.m., a “suicide note” was printed from Seegan’s computer, and minutes later, security cameras captured Ashley leaving the house.
The suspicious circumstances outlined in the court documents claim that when Seegan’s wife and son discovered his body in his home office, he was holding a 9mm pistol in his non-dominant hand. There were no fingerprints on the the gun or shell casings, and although blood splattered the office, there was none on the “suicide note.”
Authorities also claim that they found the drug Etomidate in Seegan’s system at the time of his death. Etomidate is used to render a patient paralyzed before intubation, which prosecutors claim Ashley had access to because he was also a registered nurse.
Ashley is accused of attempting to access Seegan’s financial accounts after his death. When he was unsuccessful, prosecutors claim that he returned to Seegan’s home, and with the help of Seegan’s seven-year-old son, accessed the phone and deleted multiple text messages before transferring $20,000 from Seegan’s account to his bank account.
In March 2021, a superseding federal indictment added additional wire fraud counts, two mail fraud counts, and one count of carrying or possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
While Ashley has not been convicted, the court found that pretrial detention was warranted, concluding that he was “dangerous, a flight risk, and a risk of obstructing justice.” He faces up to 20 years for the wire fraud charges, and life in prison without parole or the death penalty for the capital murder charges.