California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi announced that California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigators have arrested a former Northridge, Calif., insurance agent who allegedly took more than three quarters of a million dollars from senior citizens and their families for investments and annuities, then never made the promised investments.
Ruben Echiverri Cu, 56, was arrested by CDI Fraud investigators at his Northridge home on Oct. 31, 2006. He was booked into the Twin Towers jail facility in Los Angeles, and charged with five felony counts of grand theft and 15 felony counts of securities fraud, including sales of unqualified securities, sales of securities without a certificate, and making false statements in the sale of a security. Bail is set at $1.17 million.
In August 2004 the Department received a complaint from Shirley and Howard Horlick, alleging that life insurance agent Ruben Cu had offered to advise them on insurance annuity investments. Instead, they were convinced to refinance their mortgage-free home and invest a total of $317,000 into Cu’s corporations for a return of 14 percent to 20 percent on their investment. Cu paid back only a small portion of their principal investment. The Horlicks have been unable to collect the balance of the money promised to them by Cu.
The CDI Investigation Division also discovered that Cu allegedly convinced several other senior citizens to invest in his corporations where he issued promissory notes yielding high rates of return, but failed to make payments as promised. Cu allegedly accepted more than $774,418 from five senior citizens and two other clients.
On Oct, 18, 2006, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Cu. The filing stemmed from an investigation conducted by CDI’s Investigation Division, Valencia regional office. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Major Frauds Division is prosecuting the case. Anyone who believes they are a victim of Ruben Cu or knows someone who believes they may be a victim is urged to contact the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP (4357).
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