A California man was arrested for holding a New York-based life insurer at virtual gunpoint. A client of the insurer, the man was upset with the performance of his variable-universal life policy. Authorities say he initially demanded $200,000, then increased the amount to $3 million. If the company didn’t comply, he threatened to send damaging e-mails to 6 million married couples with children. If convicted, the man faces up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

The owner of a New York investment advisory firm was charged with securities and wire fraud in connection with an alleged $17.5 million scam. Authorities claim the advisor and four of his employees used high-pressure tactics and lies to sell advisory services to seniors. Among the deceptions were claims that financier George Soros endorsed the firm, that it oversaw hedge funds from a Wall St. location (its offices were in a Staten Island strip mall), and that it could generate 483 percent returns in less than two months.

A New York life insurance agent was arrested and charged with grand larceny for defrauding an elderly couple. The agent met with the couple, who wanted to buy several different insurance policies. Instead, the agent persuaded them to buy an annuity, which he claimed would pay a higher interest rate. But when the couple wrote a $26,100 check (payable to him), he stole the money instead. When it became apparent no annuity was forthcoming, the couple demanded a refund, but the agent refused to make good. If convicted, the perpetrator faces seven years in jail.