Who is Peggy Ann Fulford?
Peggy Ann Fulford née Barad was born in New Orleans in 1958 and went on to study at
Spelman College in Atlanta.

She later set up King Management Group and befriended successful sports stars, particularly basketball legend Dennis Rodman.

She claimed to have graduated from Harvard and attained her wealth from successful business dealings.

She offered to help manage the star’s investments for free to help them build wealth and protect them from scammers.

READ MORE: THE SCAM WHICH SAW TWO MEN JAILED FOR A TOTAL OF 100 YEARS

What was the scam?
Her clients gave Fulford complete control of their finances to allow her to spend and invest money on their behalf.

She would then typically set up two bank accounts, a joint account for living expenses and a separate bank account for investment, which she alone is controlled.

Much of the money from the investment account would be diverted to her via a web of shell companies.

She also looted money from the joint account to fund her lifestyle, often more lavish than her clients.

What happened next?
Fulford blamed shortfalls in her clients’ accounts on administrative errors or even on their own spending habits.

But over time, the shortfalls got bigger.

Clients ended up ensuring payments and not paying tax.

They were sued for child support and Rodman even had his electricity cut off because his bill wasn’t paid.

The show American Greed looked at the scam and it was revealed Rodman’s $5 million life insurance was about to lapse because the payments weren’t being made.

His assistant, AJ Bright told the show: ” “She was the master of ‘the check is in the mail,'”

Football player Ricky Williams and his then-wife Kristin Barnes were also dragged into the mess.

The couple were hit with a tax bill of $377,000, which accused them of taking false deductions.

The pair had never laid eyes on the tax return.

They then discovered they didn’t even have an account with the bank.

It transpired Fulford had used a joint account in Florida to take $6 million from the couple.

The couple launched a civil suit against Fulford, which alerted the FBI.

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It became clear Fulford had lied about her degree from Harvard and that she was constantly wiring money between different clients’ accounts and her own.

It was also revealed another NFL star, Lex Hilliard.

It was a transaction involving Hilliard that led the FBI to know they hard Fulford, according to agent Jim Hawkins on “American Greed.”

Rodman was close friends with Fulford and took a lot of convincing she had stolen millions from him.

Fulford was arrested in 2016, as it was revealed she was in the process of ripping off a local doctor.

A check for $197,000 was found in Fulford’s home, having convinced the doctor to invest in a real estate scheme that didn’t ever exist.

After making a deal, Fulford admitted one count of interstate transportation of stolen property .

She was released on bond, and managed to con another man into investing $25,000 in a medical business.

The man was rather surprised when he Googled her name and saw her mugshot.

Fulford was jailed for 10 years and ordered to pay back millions to her victim.

Lessons for investors
At least $5.8m was stolen from Fulford’s clients’ accounts, though only a few of her victims pressed charges as there was little chance of any money being recovered.

Her victims were not
alone: Ernst & Young believes that, between 2004 and 2018, professional athletes lost nearly $600m in fraud.

No matter how well-intentioned, giving anyone complete control over your own finances without rigorous checks is very dangerous.

It also pays to be suspicious of “free” services.

As the saying has it, if you’re not paying, you’re the product-or, in these cases, the cash cow.

Kris Paterson is a writer for whatjobs.com

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