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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing > Annuity Investing

There's gold in them hills

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A former California life insurance agent was arrested for allegedly stealing $100,000 from an 83-year-old client. He was charged with three felony counts, including theft, identity theft and theft from an elder. The agent allegedly forged the client’s signature on annuity surrender documents. He also changed the mailing address of the annuity to his own residence and directed the insurance company to send the client’s money to him. State authorities said he deposited the money into his business account where he used it to buy personal items.

A California financial advisor was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $2.8 million in restitution in connection with investment fraud. The advisor, who owned a tax and bookkeeping service, solicited client funds to invest in a fiber optics company. However, rather than investing the money, he used it to make personal investments in an Arizona housing development and penthouse. He further tried to conceal the misuse of investor money by depositing it numerous bank accounts in the names of corporate and partnership entities.

The Arizona Corporation Commission sanctioned a state couple and business partner for affinity fraud committed against members of three churches. The Commission ordered over $11 million in restitution and $250,000 in administrative penalties. Through their affinity relationship with the churches, the business partners convinced at least 80 church members to buy stock, short-term bridge loans and promissory notes in two companies, one of which was slated to become a publicly traded company. After investing, clients received phony account statements that showed their investments were increasing in value when in fact they were not. The partners funneled investor money into offshore accounts, using it for cars, jewelry, a luxury home, gambling debts and a payment to a woman’s professional soccer team.

Harry Lew is the communications and content director for the National Ethics Bureau.


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