An Arizona insurance agent pleaded guilty to plundering $1.3 million from an elderly client she claimed was a rich uncle to pay back nine other customers she had already robbed in an effort to avoid criminal charges.
Koreasa “Kory” Williams, 49, of Tucson, Ariz., admitted she had sidled up to the 79-year-old victim in 2019 in an effort to get him to transfer his life insurance and retirement accounts to her purportedly to invest in annuities, prosecutors said.
Williams never invested the money and directed the victim to send checks worth more than $1.3 million to her lawyer to be used to pay back nine other elderly clients she had embezzled from dating back to 2011, according to court filings.
“The defendant treated her clients’ annuities as her own personal bank, withdrawing thousands of dollars, sometimes on a weekly basis, whenever she fancied it,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum in the earlier case.
According to prosecutors, Williams told her attorney that the later victim was a rich uncle who was helping her pay off her debts. She admitted later to moving to pay back what she had stolen only after discovering that she was under investigation and that she hoped to avoid criminal charges.
She was indicted in the earlier scam in 2019 and has since pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 51 months in prison. She faces up to 20 years in the more recent case, prosecutors said.
Williams’ attorney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
Prosecutors said Williams continued to fleece the victim in the second case even after being charged in the first, going back to him for more money to help cover her legal fees.
As part of the fraud, she convinced him to give her $125,000 to donate to a charitable fund, prosecutors said. She told the victim her husband’s ministry was attempting to create the fund to benefit the victim’s adult, special needs daughter, prosecutors said. The charity didn’t exist, prosecutors said, and the money went directly into Williams’ pocket.
In the first scam, Williams pleaded guilty to forging documents that allowed her to make withdrawals from her clients’ annuity accounts. Over a five-year period, prosecutors said she siphoned more than $1 million from those accounts and used the money to finance her lifestyle.
“For most of these victims, these annuities were their life savings intended to be secure until needed in retirement. It placed the victims in financial jeopardy all the while clueless that their accounts were being drained by someone they trusted implicitly,” prosecutors wrote.