FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Case #: 12CF2662

Date: June 21, 2018

FORMER INSURANCE AGENT CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING APPROXIMATELY $2 MILLION FROM CLIENTS

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former insurance agent was convicted and sentenced today to 15 years in state prison for defrauding approximately $2 million from his clients.

Defendant

Charges

Court-Offered Sentence

Brian Smart, 41, Lehi, UT

Pleaded guilty today to the following felony counts:

  • (9) Theft from an elder
  • (3) Grand theft
  • Forgery
  • Money laundering
  • Using an untrue statement during the purchase/sale of a security

Sentencing Enhancements (Admitted)

  • Aggravated white collar crime over $500,000
  • Property damage over $1,000,000
  • Theft exceeding $100,000
  • Money laundering exceeding $150,000
  • 15 years in state prison
  • Ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,810,508
  • Ordered to pay fines in the amount of $1,810,508

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between May 2005 and March 2006, Smart worked for an insurance firm in Anaheim and convinced several elderly victims to liquidate their annuities and pay him under the pretense of having their money invested in a safe, high-yield investment. Many of the victims were referred to the defendant’s firm through a nationwide retirement organization.
  • The defendant received and deposited the victims’ money into his own business account and used the victims’ money for personal use, including purchasing a home and daily personal expenses.
  • Smart convinced one of his victims to sell her home under the premise of using the money for an investment. Smart then took the victim’s money and deposited it into his own business account.
  • The defendant forged the signature of one of his victims on a document to liquidate her annuity and collected the money from the annuity and deposited it into his business account for personal use.
  • Smart moved to Utah in 2006 after stealing approximately $2 million dollars from his victims, including several elderly victims who were left without any retirement funds after entrusting the defendant with their annuities. The defendant paid back approximately $200,000 to the victims before ending payments in January 2008.
  • In July 2008, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigated several complaints from victims who never received their money from the defendant. On Sept. 12, 2012, Lehi police arrested the defendant at his home in Utah. CDI investigators brought the defendant to Orange County on Sept. 27, 2012, after the defendant waived extradition.

Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche, Major Fraud Unit

 

 



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