Houston financial advisor charged with defrauding ex-NFL player

Football

Updated 5:11 pm, Wednesday, May 2, 2018



A Houston woman was taken into custody Wednesday on federal charges that she swindled a former NFL player out of more than $1 million after he hired her as a financial advisor.

This is at least the second time in recent years that federal prosecutors in Houston have charged a financial agent with stealing money from an ex-football player, although the professionals and former NFL players involved in the two cases are different.

In the newer case, Tonya Lynn Adkism, 44, faces a 16-count indictment including allegations of mail, bank and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney. Adkism was taken into custody Wednesday and set to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Hanovice Palermo.

Adkism’s court records are under seal and the prosecutor and judge on the case were unable to provide further information about the case or her attorney.


According to court documents, Robert Meachem, a former wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints hired Adkism in June 2010 to oversee his finances. Investigators say she fraudulently obtained signatory authority over Meachem’s corporate accounts and forged his signature on checks linked to his personal accounts, netting than $1 million from his accounts.

She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and on each of two counts of wire fraud and up to 30 years in prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine for each of eight counts of bank fraud.

RELATED: Woman allegedly conned Heisman winner Ricky Williams out of millions

The second recent case involved a former Houston woman who recently pleaded guilty after portraying herself as a Harvard-educated money manager and tricking former NFL running back Errick L.”Ricky” Williams and other professional athletes out of millions of dollars.

Peggy Ann Fulford , 59, pleaded guilty Feb. 1 to moving illegally obtained money across state lines. She agreed to repay $3.5 million to Williams for his losses.

Fulford’s attorney, Philip Gallagher, at the federal public defender’s office, was not immediately available for comment.

According to court documents, Fulford convinced the former Heisman winner at University of Texas that she had studied law and business at a Harvard and had made her fortune on Wall Street buying and selling hospitals and real estate in the Bahamas, but records showed she did not attend Harvard or have a law license.

Fulford is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 2 before U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison.

Gabrielle Banks covers federal court for the Hoston Chronicle. Follow her on Twitter and send her tips at gabrielle.banks@chron.com.


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