RICHMOND, VA—Linda Palmer Taylor, 61, of Henderson, Nevada, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.
Taylor was indicted on January 4, 2012 by a federal grand jury on conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Taylor faces a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment when she is sentenced on August 16, 2012.
In a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Taylor admitted that she was an owner of several companies that purported to assist families with finding and securing financial aid for college expenses. Taylor and her co-conspirator, Edward Menster, sold approximately $1.6 million in annuities to investors in California, Colorado, and Virginia through two different companies, College Funding Associates and the College Dream Foundation. Taylor and Menster made false representations to investors about the security of the funds by claiming that they were collateralized or guaranteed when, in fact, Taylor and Menster knew that they were not secured. The money raised by investors was used by Taylor and Menster for their own personal gain or for the benefit of companies owned by Taylor and Menster and was used to make interest payments and withdrawals to previous investors in a Ponzi-like scheme.
Linda Taylor’s co-conspirator, Ed Menster, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on December 2, 2011and was sentenced to 58 months’ incarceration on March 9, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie L. Mickelson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.