EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 20, 2013

Trial for NH man accused of taking $1M from widows starts in January


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A longtime financial adviser preyed on the widowed friends of his wife and mother to bilk them out of more than $1 million to fund a lavish lifestyle including yacht docking fees and private school tuition for his children, according to federal prosecutors.

Frederick McMenimen III of Exeter will go on trial in January, after a federal judge last week found him mentally competent to stand trial. He was deemed incompetent in June and was committed to federal custody for psychiatric treatment and evaluation at a medical facility in North Carolina.

McMenimen, 50, has pleaded not guilty to charges of mail fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and interstate transportation of goods obtained by fraud. He declined to comment outside of court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Morse argued for an earlier trial date, saying the elderly victims were stripped of their life savings, are anxious to see justice done and could forget details when questioned in court.

“Their memories are not improving,” Morse said.

But Judge Steven McAuliffe deferred to public defender Bjorn Lange’s request for postponement, noting the dwindling resources and staff at the public defenders’ office. Lange was appointed by McAuliffe after McMenimen’s financial affidavit showed he couldn’t afford a private lawyer.

McAuliffe said there would be no further delays “absent truly extraordinary circumstances.”

Lange declined to comment on the case.

Morse would not say how many women are involved, and the October 2012 indictment doesn’t specify the number or identify the victims.

Court documents describe them as “financially unsophisticated” women who placed a great deal of trust in McMenimen. Prosecutors say McMenimen directed them — all residents of New Hampshire — to liquidate life insurance annuities and other investments and turn them over to him.

The indictment says McMenimen convinced the women to write him checks totaling in excess of $1 million between 2007 and 2011. Rather than invest the money as he claimed he would, prosecutors say he put more than $134,000 toward his home mortgage, made $350,000 in credit card payments and $120,000 in tuition payments and spent more than $31,000 to dock and accessorize his yacht.

Prosecutors say he deposited the women’s checks into an account he maintained for a defunct sporting goods business he once ran. Many of the deposits were made to a bank branch in Kittery, Maine. He then funneled most of the funds into an account he maintained in the name of a close relative, authorities say.

He is also charged with tax evasion from 2008 through 2010, when prosecutors say he “substantially” underreported his income.