Key Witness in Brett Parker Case Faces Federal Fraud Charges

Federal Fraud ChargesFormer Financial Advisor to Parker Family Faces Federal Fraud Charges

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused a Lexington County accountant, who was a key witness in both the criminal and gambling trials against Brett Parker, of federal fraud charges involving illegal profit from the assets of terminally ill people.

Ben Staples, 63, reportedly victimized 44 dying people from 2008 to 2012, and converted about $6.5 million in the victims’ assets to his personal use, according to the federal fraud charges.

The civil complaint also alleges that Staples’s 28-year-old son, Oneal Staples, is a co-defendant.

Ben Staples said in an interview that the federal fraud charges were ridiculous.

“There are two sides to every story. I hope people wait to hear them both,” said Staples, who said he was speaking for his sons as well. Although his son Brian has not been charged as directly involved, he has been called a “relief defendant,” meaning he may have wound up with the fraudulently-gotten money in his possession, and the federal government will try to reclaim it.

The complaint alleges that Ben and Oneal Staples, together, found terminally ill patients through a business venture called the Estate Assistance Program, which they operated between 2008 and 2012. Oneal offered to pay for the victim’s funeral, “if the terminally ill individuals agreed to open a joint brokerage account with the Staples.” When the victims agreed to that, according to the complaint, “the Staples required them to relinquish any ownership rights to any assets purchased in those accounts through the execution of side agreements.” Once they had access to the brokerage accounts, the Staples would purchase a “survivor’s option,” giving the father and son team the right to redeem the bonds after the victim’s death.

The federal fraud charges were investigated at the Security and Exchange Commission’s Salt Lake City office, far away from the Staples’ home in South Carolina.

“The [Staples] exploited the tragic circumstances surrounding a terminally ill diagnosis and turned the misfortune of others into a profit-making enterprise for themselves,” said Kenneth Israel, Director of the SEC’s Salt Lake Regional Office that investigated the case.  “The Staples deceived brokerage firms and bond issuers by casting themselves as survivors of a joint ownership situation when the deceased had no legal ties to the bonds at all.”

The elder Staples was a key witness in both the double homicide and the illegal gambling trials against Brett Parker, who was convicted on both charges. Staples reportedly had an affair with Parker’s wife, Tammy Jo Parker, who was one of the victims of the double homicide.

The SEC seeks repayment of money plus earned interest, financial penalties, permanent injunctions, and civil penalties related to the federal fraud charges.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Securities and Federal Fraud Charges

Securities Fraud investigations are complex white collar fraud cases that need a criminal defense attorney who can adequately investigate and represent the individual or corporation accused of Securities Fraud. Securities Fraud investigations and cases often take years to put together and involve a lengthy grand jury process. If you or your corporation is accused or charged with Securities Fraud you need a criminal defense lawyer that can represent your interests with the United States Attorneys’ Office.

If you, your loved one, or your corporation has been contacted by a law enforcement officer about federal fraud charges, you should contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC immediately. Getting involved in a securities fraud case or other federal fraud charges case early is a great benefit to the criminal defense attorney and the defendant. Do not let federal fraud charges ruin your professional and personal reputation. The Strom Law Firm offers free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case with impunity. Contact us today.803.252.4800