Seniors are vulnerable to dishonest behavior, especially by financial professionals including insurance agents who are supposed to help them. When seniors make financial plans for the future and seek help from agents or other professionals, those seniors have a right to expect honesty and advice appropriate to their specific situation. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who choose to prey upon the elderly and who cause older people to suffer substantial financial harm in the process.
Just recently, The San Diego Tribune wrote about one unscrupulous insurance agent who behaved in an unethical and illegal way. The agent was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment as part of a long-running scheme in which the agent stole more than $1.4 million.
Insurance Agent Scams Seniors
According to The San Diego Tribune, the insurance agent was a trusted advisor to the people who he scammed. In total, the agent defrauded 15 customers, most of whom were senior citizens.
The agent targeted specific victims and aggressively pursued their business. The insurance agent promised he would multiply the savings of the seniors by investing their money in low-risk investments such as annuities. One of the victims testified the agent met him at an investment seminar in 2005. At that time, the victim told the agent he was planning to put his funds into an insurance company annuity. The agent advised him to put his money into a different annuity to get a better deal.
The agent then proceeded to repeatedly convince the victim to change from one annuity to another in a process called churning or twisting. The victim was told over and over that he would make more money for changing his annuity, but in reality, he paid penalties for early cancellation each time a change was made. The agent netted more than $260,000 in commissions, while the victim lost more than $800,000.
Throughout that time, the agent built up trust, hosting a banquet for investors, buying them dinners, and giving them gift cards. Other victims were also wooed in similar ways and lost money as the agent perpetrated the same scam on them. Several other victims testified when the agent entered into a plea agreement for 29 criminal counts, including grand theft, elder fraud, forgery, and filing a fraudulent tax return.
While the defendant will serve prison time, the victims may face difficulty recovering their lost funds. Those who have been defrauded do have rights and qualified California financial elder abuse attorney can provide help to those who have been victimized by scammers in pursuing claims to obtain compensation for the losses they have endured.
An attorney will help victims to identify all who could be held responsible so they can maximize the chances of being able to make a successful claim and get their money back from a defendant with the means to repay them. Evans Law has extensive experience with complicated claims involving insurance agents who commit annuities or insurance fraud and other types of fraud, so you should give us a call as soon as possible for assistance. Contact Evans Law Firm online or call 415-441-8669 to schedule a free initial consultation as soon as possible.