When AB (name changed), a resident of Maryland, took retirement in 2003 pursuant to a buyout, he would hardly have bargained for the traumatic series of events over the next few years that would lead him to lose most of the retirement funds he received at that time.
AB turned 75 in January 2020. When he retired from the air conditioning company that he worked with for almost 40 years, and with the intention of creating an inheritance for his grandchildren, he sought investment advice, as was he won’t, from “Bank 1”, where he did his day-to-day banking.
A pivotal period in this chronology appears to be the time when Eddy Blizzard, now former broker, started working for “Bank 1,” shortly after AB started investing his retirement funds with them. Shortly thereafter, Blizzard became AB’s investment advisor.
At some point in time in 2005, Blizzard communicated to AB that he had started operating as an independent advisor and since he did not have resources for his own office yet, he would continue to operate out of the “Bank 1” facility in Catonsville, Maryland. He specifically asked AB if he would like to shift his business from “Bank 1” to him and hire him as a full-time advisor.
Though AB’s response to that question is not known, subsequent events would suggest that it was a “yes” as AB continued to meet Blizzard once a month for which he would make the hour-long drive from his new home in Chester, Maryland, to Catonsville. Bizarrely, these meetings, which usually lasted between 30 and 45 minutes, were held in Blizzard’s car, and not inside the “Bank 1” office.
According to AB, he was never told why these meetings were held in the car. He also states that during the years of investing with Blizzard, he never questioned the security of his money. Further, he believed that his mortgage payments were also being serviced by Blizzard.
AB handed over 15-20 blank signed checks sometime in 2010. These were encashed by Blizzard.
Alarm bells for AB appear to have been triggered when his attempts at drawing funds were unsuccessful on account of insufficiency of funds. When his calls were not answered, AB went to the Perry Hall, Maryland residence of Blizzard. He knocked on the front and back doors, to get someone to open. While the doors stayed shut, AB did receive a voicemail from Blizzard saying that his neighbors were complaining about the loud noise. The voicemail also explained that all his (AB’s) money was gone.
As per public information available with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), it seems Blizzard never went to work for himself, as he had led AB to believe.
The money trail
AB’s accounts show 242 disbursements between January of 2013 and August of 2019, for a total of $1.4 million, from the retirement accounts. Out of the 242, 129 disbursements, for a total value of $1.2 million, had been specifically requested from the retirement accounts of AB, and not the regular accounts used by him for annuity and other payments.
About a million dollars were deposited into AB’s account with “Bank 1” after accounting for taxes and fees.
Between April of 2016 and April of 2019, a staggering 112 cheques, for a total of $848,000, drawn on AB’s accounts, were deposited into various accounts held in the name of Blizzard singly, or jointly with his wife. Some of these accounts were with “Bank 1.”
Comments penciled onto the ‘memo’ section of the cheques invariably had a “payment of property taxes,” “construction,” “boat payments,” and “down payments for a new house” as the apparent purpose.
AB’s cup of woes runneth over
As if his cup of woes was not full, AB received a letter from the IRS which he dutifully turned over to Blizzard, as he had been asked to. Only later AB’s relatives could determine that he owed $63000 in federal income taxes on account of disbursements from his retirement accounts apparently stolen by Blizzard.
On account of lack of payments, AB’s house went into foreclosure, even while he was under the impression that Blizzard was handling it.
AB passed away on 20th March, 2020, shortly after turning 75.
Eddy Blizzard, Sun Trust Investment Services, Truist
As per his BrokerCheck record, Eddy Blizzard worked as a registered representative of Sun Trust Investment Services (now Truist) between 2014 and 2017, till his release on 27th July, 2017. The release was allegedly on account of his violating Sun Trust’s error reporting and trade execution policies.
Blizzard appears to have not taken up employment with another broker after this release. His career in the industry had started with UBS in 2001.
In June 2018 Blizzard was served a suspension by FINRA because he “failed to comply with an arbitration award or settlement agreement or to satisfactorily respond to a FINRA request to provide information concerning the status of compliance.”
Though Magistrate Judge Deborah L. Boardman District Court in Baltimore, at the initial appearance, has ordered that Blizzard be released pending trial, Blizzard is looking at a sentence of 20 years behind bars if convicted for wire fraud, in addition to a mandatory sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft, that will run consecutive to any other sentence.