CFO Accused of Murder-for-Hire on His Employer's Dime

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By Teresa Ambord

Wealthy Texas CFO John Franklin Howard (who goes by Frank Howard) is accused of embezzling millions from his employer. This complaint comes on the heels of his arrest in late August for allegedly hiring a teenage hit man to kill his wife Nancy. 

On August 18, Nancy Howard was attacked in the garage of the Carrollton, Texas, home she shared with her husband. In the attack she was shot over the left eye. She survived the shot but lost her eye. Her husband stood by her hospital bedside as she lay in a coma, but when she awoke, she filed for divorce on the basis that her husband had confessed to a three-year affair with a California woman. Over those three years, he is believed to have spent millions on his mistress, purchasing multiple homes, paying college tuition for her daughter, and giving her half a million dollars for "expenses."

Bad to Worse

Eight days after the shooting, nineteen-year-old Dustin Hiroms told police that Howard had hired him to kill Nancy and make it look like an accident. Hiroms and other members of his family told authorities that Howard had been in contact with his family for three years, trying to make the killing happen in exchange for $85,000. There is no indication why it took three years with no attempts to carry out the hit. The FBI stated that before the shooting on August 18, they received a tip from a jailhouse informant about the murder-for-hire, but agents did not tell local police of the tip until after Nancy was shot. 

Howard is now free on bail, but his troubles continue to mount.

Worse to Disastrous

Soon after his arrest, Howard's employer filed suit against him, alleging that Howard embezzled as much as $32 million from the company, including the money he used to pay the hit man and to finance his mistress's expenses.

For three years, beginning in 2009, Howard had served as the trusted CFO of Raley Holdings, Inc., a defense contractor based in Grapevine, Texas. Raley Holdings, founded by Richard R. Raley, is in the business of shipping to and from the Middle East, and deals with multimillion-dollar contracts from the US Department of Defense. Howard was the sole signatory for Raley Holdings and, in addition, had the power to execute wire transfers. 

The complaint against him, filed by Raley Holdings and J.P. Morgan Bank, states that Howard established four shadow companies that he used to siphon money out of his employer accounts. The companies were Genshu Management Company, Inc.; JFH Management Company, Inc.; Snew Management Company, Inc.; and Sutaho Management Company, Inc. 

The complaint, as published in the Courthouse News Service, said",Millions of dollars of these funds are unaccounted for." It continues",Defendant attempted to hide his conduct by making false entries in plaintiff's accounting records by misclassifying the payments as 'office supplies.' Defendant wrote at least $144,000 in such checks." 

The company "did not authorize these transfers and had no knowledge" of them, the suit says.

Raley is seeking a full accounting and damages for fraud, a break of fiduciary duty, money had and received, and unjust enrichment.

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