RICHMOND, VA—Linda Palmer Taylor, 62, of Henderson, Nevada was sentenced today to 54 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in recruiting investors and misusing their funds in a college financial aid fraud.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and John S. Adams, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.
Taylor pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on May 14, 2012. According to court documents, Taylor was the owner of several companies that purported to assist families with finding and securing financial aid for college expenses. As part of her financial planning advice, Taylor recommended that of her clients purchase annuities through her companies, the College Dream Foundation and College Funding Associates. Taylor and her co-conspirator, Edward Menster, sold approximately $1.6 million in annuities to investors in California, Colorado, and Virginia. Taylor falsely represented to her clients that the funds would be secured or guaranteed, when, in fact, they were deposited in a checking account controlled by Taylor and were neither secured nor guaranteed.
The funds were used by Taylor and Menster for personal expenses to fund other, unrelated businesses and to make interest payments and withdrawals to previous investors in a Ponzi-like scheme. As part of her sentence, Taylor was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars in restitution to the victims of her fraud.
Taylor’s co-conspirator, Ed Menster, also pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 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 prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.