News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: February 24, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Former Southern California Insurance Agent Charged with $300,000 Grand Theft
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Mark Brashear, 48, of San Marcos, pled guilty to two felony counts of grand theft against an elder.
"Let this be a warning to anyone who attempts to take advantage of California consumers - we will find you, and we will prosecute you," said Commissioner Poizner. "Swindling California seniors out of their savings is unacceptable, and the Department of Insurance will continue to crack down on unscrupulous agents."
Upon receiving complaints from seniors alleging Brashear misrepresented their investments, CDI's 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.
Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Close to 1900 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's Enforcement Branch since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other two-year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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