Ex-AIG adviser who practiced voodoo on victims gets 12 years for fraud

The former money manager also lit candles and engaged a psychic in hopes of warding off damaging testimony from his marks

Sep 8, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

By Bruce Kelly

A Tennessee rep formerly affiliated with AIG Financial Advisors Inc. spent time making voodoo dolls of his victims to ward off their damaging testimony, prosecutors said.

Barry R. Stokes last year pleaded guilty to multiple counts of embezzlement, as well as mail and wire fraud, and money laundering for stealing $19 million from some 35,000 victims nationwide, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nashville, Tenn., from their 401(k), health savings, and dependent care accounts.

On Friday, Mr. Stokes, 52, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Nashville to 12 years in prison after a hearing that presented evidence of his bizarre practices, according to reports in The Tennessean newspaper.

At a pre-sentencing hearing last week, prosecutors also said that Mr. Stokes paid a psychic with a credit card to give him readings while in jail, according to The Tennessean.

He also wrote a letter to the psychic saying that he was lighting candles and throwing salt over his shoulder to keep critics and creditors at bay, according to the report.

Mr. Stokes was registered with AIG Financial Advisors from October 2005 to September 2006, at which point his fraud was discovered and he was fired, according to brokerage records on file with the states where he was licensed to do business.

AIG Financial Advisors was renamed SagePoint Financial Inc. earlier this year, months after its parent, American International Group Inc. collapsed in the credit crisis and got an $85 billion bailout from the federal government.

From October 2001 to 2005, Mr. Stokes was licensed with Spelman & Co. Inc., another independent broker-dealer owned by AIG that was merged with AIG Financial Advisors.

According to his brokerage records, Mr. Stokes was hired by Spelman & Co. after he had been let go by two other broker-dealers, with one firm stating Mr. Stokes in 2000 failed to cooperate with an internal investigation.

His firm, 1Point Solutions, was an employee benefits administration company based in Dickson, Tenn.

Evelyn Curran, an AIG spokeswoman, said the company declined to comment about the matter.


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