SHERMAN – An Allen man has been found guilty of multiple federal violations related to a fraud scheme that included the murder of a Carrollton man, announced Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Keith Todd Ashley, 50, was found guilty by a jury of wire fraud, mail fraud, carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and bank fraud. The verdict was reached today following a week-long trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant.
According to information presented at trial, beginning in 2016, Ashley, a registered nurse who also began working as a financial advisor and life insurance agent, started stealing money from his clients. Ashley promised his clients he would invest their money in financial products but instead used the funds to pay other clients, to keep his struggling brewery in business, to pay his personal bills and to fund a lavish lifestyle. In May 2016, Ashley began stealing investment funds from a Carrollton man. This scheme included transferring the client’s money into his personal accounts and changing the beneficiary of the man’s life insurance to a trust controlled by Ashley. The scheme eventually resulted in the Feb. 19, 2020, murder of the client, which Ashley attempted to stage as a suicide. Even after the client was killed, Ashley went through elaborate steps to collect on the life insurance policy, transfer funds from the victim’s bank account to himself, and attempt to obtain a copy of the victim’s autopsy report. Ashley was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. 12, 2020, and has been charged with various federal violations, including wire fraud, mail fraud and firearms violations.
“Ashley went to great lengths to defraud clients that trusted him,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “By plotting and causing the death of one client to steal his money, Ashley committed the ultimate betrayal of trust and decency and the jury saw Ashley for who he is, a con-artist who would go so far as murder to get what he wanted. Incredible work by investigators and prosecutors, as well as coordination between the Feds and the State have succeeded in getting this depraved criminal off the street.”
“Keith Ashley’s desire for wealth and comfort outweighed his ability to uphold his professional responsibility in both the medical and financial fields. He failed to act in the best interests of his clients and instead robbed them of their financial security, in this specific instance, he also ended a life,” said Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “We will continue to seek justice for victims of these deceitful schemes, and I am grateful for the collaborative and investigative work performed by local and federal law enforcement on this case.”
Ashley faces up to life in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Frisco Resident Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, and the Carrollton Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Rattan and Jay Combs and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Fine.
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