An Allen, Texas-based financial advisor was convicted of multiple federal violations related to a fraud scheme that included the murder of a Carrollton man, has been sentenced to life in federal prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas says Keith Todd Ashley was found guilty by a jury of wire fraud, mail fraud, carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and bank fraud in October 2022. He was sentenced earlier this month.
“Keith Ashley funded his lavish lifestyle and attempted to rescue his failing business by robbing his clients of financial security, and when that wasn’t enough, he robbed one of his life,” said Dallas FBI special agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough. “Many local and federal resources came together to seek justice for the victims, and our hope is that today’s sentence can bring continued healing to the families and friends who will be forever impacted by the greed and deceit caused by the defendant.”
According to information presented at trial, beginning in 2016, Ashley, a registered nurse who also began working as a financial advisor and life insurance agent, started stealing money from his clients. The former advisor promised his clients he would invest their money in financial products but instead used the funds to pay other clients, to keep his struggling brewery in business, to pay his personal bills and to fund a “lavish lifestyle.”
In May 2016, Ashley began stealing investment funds from a Carrollton man. This included transferring the client’s money into his personal accounts and changing the beneficiary of the man’s life insurance to a trust controlled by Ashley. The scheme eventually resulted in the Feb. 19, 2020, murder of the client, which Ashley attempted to stage as a suicide. Even after the client was killed, Ashley went through elaborate steps to collect on the life insurance policy, transfer funds from the victim’s bank account to himself, and attempt to obtain a copy of the victim’s autopsy report. Ashley was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. 12, 2020, and has been charged with various federal violations, including wire fraud, mail fraud and firearms violations.
According to an appeal filed with the fifth circuit, the district court’s findings were supported by evidence that Ashley murdered one of his financial clients to benefit from his life insurance policy; that he took out significant policies on himself, his wife, and his children; that he stole $225,000 from his mother-in-law; and that he wrote a lengthy suicide note on his cell phone.
“Today’s sentence brings a sense of relief and justice to the victim’s family and friends, who have endured pain and grief as a result of the defendant’s horrific actions,” said U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs. “Mr. Ashley’s actions of defrauding and ultimately taking the victim’s life is reprehensible and indefensible. I’m grateful to our local and federal law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly on this case. Their dedication was essential in bringing this defendant to justice.”
According to BrokerCheck, Ashley began his financial services career in 2000 with Walnut Street Securities before moving to Sigma Financial Corporation in 2002. He joined Parkland Securities LLC the same year which is where he advised until 2020, when he was dismissed by the firm over undisclosed outside business activities. He was barred from the securities industry by FINRA in October 2022 for refusing to provide information in connection to the regulatory body’s investigation into his termination by Parkland.