|For Immediate Release
Case # 12CF2662
September 28, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
INSURANCE AGENT TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR DEFRAUDING OVER $1.7 MILLION FROM CLIENTS
SANTA ANA – An insurance agent will be arraigned today for defrauding over $1.7 million from his clients. Brian Smart, 35, Lehi, UT, is charged with nine felony counts of theft from an elder, three felony counts of grand theft, and one felony count each of forgery and money laundering and sentencing enhancement allegations for committing over $100,000 loss. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years and four months in state prison. The People will be requesting Smart be held on $1,786,000 bail at his arraignment this afternoon, Sept. 28, 2012, in Department CJ-1 Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Between May 2005 and March 2006, Smart is accused of working for an insurance firm in Anaheim. Many of the victims were referred to the defendant’s firm through a nationwide retirement organization. Smart is accused of convincing several elderly victims to liquidate their annuities and give the money to the defendant under the pretense of having it invested in a safe, high-yield investment.
The defendant is accused of receiving the victims’ money and depositing the money into his own business account. The defendant is accused of using the victims’ money for personal use, including purchasing a home and daily personal expenses.
Smart is accused of convincing one of his victims to sell her home under the premise of using the money for an investment. Smart is accused of taking the victim’s money and depositing it into his own business account.
Smart is accused of forging the signature of one of his victims on a document to liquidate her annuity. He is accused of collecting the money from the annuity and depositing it into his business account for personal use.
The defendant is accused of moving to Utah in 2006 after stealing $1.7 million dollars from his victims. The defendant is accused of paying back approximately $175,000 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 yesterday, Sept. 27, 2012, after the defendant waived extradition.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ron Frazier at (714) 347-8691.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.