COLUMBUS — A federal court judge has frozen the assets of a former Gallipolis-based financial adviser amid allegations she conned a 96-year-old nursing home resident out of $1.5 million.
Raymond James Financial Services, a Florida-based financial services company, is seeking more than $800,000 from Jo Ellen Fisher, of Gallipolis, a former financial adviser the company claims swindled Edward Martin, 96, of Point Pleasant, who suffers from dementia.
Fisher reportedly served as manager of Martin’s trust fund.
The company alleges in its civil lawsuit that Fisher diverted nearly $1.5 million from the accounts of Edward Martin, an elderly client who lives at Pleasant Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Point Pleasant.
Raymond James, according to the lawsuit, seeks to recoup its losses of about $835,000 — the final tally after having restored Martin’s trust fund.
The alleged diversions began in July 2013 and continued through early 2014, RJFS claims in its court filing.
“Jo Ellen Fisher ran through the money she stole almost as fast as she stole it,” the lawsuit claims. “A sampling of records reviewed by (Raymond James) show varied purchases and high-toned tastes.”
U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley in Columbus ordered a freeze on all of Fisher’s bank accounts and property, which includes two automobiles worth about $87,000; jewelry, mostly diamonds, worth in the neighborhood of $165,000; about $146,000 for appliances and home remodeling, as well as other money used to pay off debts.
Raymond James claims in its civil lawsuit that Fisher and her husband, Andrew, developed a scheme to make it look like the Fishers’ daughter was Martin’s goddaughter, and that the asset transfers were gifts to the daughter.
According to the lawsuit, the fraudulent gifts — stocks, cash and mutual fund earnings — were transferred into accounts the Fishers controlled at Peoples Bank, where Jo Ellen Fisher was employed as a financial adviser and served as a representative of Raymond James.
Raymond James provides securities and investment advisory services to customers of the bank. Published reports say the company first learned of the alleged fraud in May from Martin’s niece, who acts as his trustee.
Fisher was terminated from Raymond James and the bank in May, according to the court filing.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Ohio and Fisher could not be reached by press time.