Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
FINANCIAL INVESTOR SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON FOR STEALING ALMOST $2.8 MILLION FROM ELDERLY PEOPLE IN TAX-FREE BOND SCAM
*One victim invested his entire redress payment savings from his Japanese internment during WWII
SANTA ANA – A financial planner was sentenced today to 18 years in state prison for stealing approximately $2.8 million from vulnerable, elderly people, many of whom he met through his father’s church. Hitomi Tsuyuki, 57, Coto de Caza, pleaded guilty Sept. 30, 2011, to 17 felony counts of the use of untrue statements in the sale of a security, 10 felony counts of theft from an elder, one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of the use of a scheme to defraud, and a sentencing enhancement for causing property damage over $2.5 million.
Between Nov. 22, 1997, and Nov. 8, 2007, Tsuyuki stole approximately $2.8 million from 33 clients while working as a financial planner by convincing them to invest in bonds with the intention of keeping the money for himself. Many of the victims had been associated with Tsuyuki since he was a child, as they had attended the church where the defendant’s father was a minister. The defendant targeted vulnerable elderly victims who trusted him, including those who were recently widowed or who were in need of assistance because of memory loss and early signs of dementia.
The defendant encouraged victims to invest in an opportunity that he falsely represented as the purchase of a tax-free municipal bond. He instructed the victims to make the checks out to his company, Tsuyuki Integrated Financial Resources. Tsuyuki deposited the money into his own accounts instead of investing it as promised. The defendant falsely claimed to be a lawyer who was qualified to assist the victims with estate planning and the writing of trusts. Tsuyuki is not and has never been a licensed attorney.
The defendant also offered victims the opportunity to purchase interest in a money market account, instructed them to make checks out to the money market account fund, and instead deposited the checks into his personal account.
The defendant used the stolen money for personal expenses including his Coto de Caza home, a vacation property in Mammoth, a golf club membership, and cars.
When victims asked for documentation of their invested money, Tsuyuki created false statements to reassure victims that their investments were safe. He also lied to the victims and claimed that the investment company had a mistake in their records regarding the victim’s address to explain why they did not receive regular mail updat