California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Mark Brashear of San Marcos pled guilty to two felony counts of grand theft against an elder.
Upon receiving complaints from seniors alleging Brashear misrepresented their investments, the California Department of Insurance Enforcement Branch launched an investigation. The investigation revealed that Brashear initially invested senior clients’ money into legitimate annuity accounts, as requested by the clients. After a period of time, Brashear allegedly persuaded his clients to invest in American First Fidelity, or AFF, promising higher returns on their investments. He purportedly failed to disclose that he was the owner of AFF, and that their investment would not be in an annuity. Investigators further discovered that Brashear allegedly used the victims’ money for personal expenses. According to investigators, the victims’ funds were not placed into any legitimate investment.
Brashear’s alleged schemes took place between February 2004 and August 2005. There were a total of five senior victims who incurred losses of more than $300,000 as a result of his purported scamming.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case. A sentencing hearing has been set for April 7, 2009. Restitution is to be set at the sentencing hearing.
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