Honey Just Dripped from Her Lips: Swansea Broker Gets 17

Honey Just Dripped from Her Lips: Swansea Broker Gets 17

CHICAGO – U.S. District Judge David Herndon sentenced 58 year old Victoria McGee-Harris, a licensed insurance agent Victoria McGee-Harris fraudand securities broker operating from Swansea, to 17 ½ years in federal prison on charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

McGee-Harris, who sold annuities and other financial instruments for MetLife, charmed over 50 investors, mostly elderly and trusting people, into parting with more than $5.9 million. She used the funds to buy rental properties, finance clothing stores and for personal vacations and expenses. Her modus operandi was to deposit the clients’ checks in her own company styled Metro East Insurance Group, and later to withdraw the funds via purchase of a cashier check, which was then used to purchase the securities.

The rental properties McGee-Harris bought were placed in a trust called DFWM for “Don’t **** With Me.” The embezzlement probably continued from 2003 through 2010, according to MetLife fraud investigator Jean Phillip, who spent almost three months trying to establish the extent of the fraud, discovered in January 2010. MetLife has already reimbursed more than $7 million to McGee-Harris’ victims.

The sentencing was attended by several of the victims who had been taken in by McGee-Harris personal charm – Assistant U.S. Attorney Norm Smith described in court how she would gain their confidence by visiting and socializing with them, even console them during times of loss. Some of them even considered her family. “Honey just dripped from her lips,” said Jacqueline Aycock, whose sister, Jeannette Johnson, was defrauded of more than $200,000. Denise Carroll, from Shiloh, who along with her family members lost $150,000, said, “She was cocky. She thought she was going to get away with this… Shame on her for victimizing old people who trusted her.”

Judge Herndon turned down defense attorney Adam Fein’s plea for a lower sentence of 10 years but allowed the accused to remain free on bond till the time she must surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which is in about four to six weeks. Pending a review of the complete record, Herndon reserved his assessment of the amount of restitution.

“To work hard for most of your life or to inherit money from a loved one and then to turn it over to a trusted person is as American as apple pie. They invest it and you can watch it grow,” Judge Herndon said. “To have that money stolen by someone who didn’t deserve it and didn’t earn it is as bad as it gets.”

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