News: 2012 Press Release
For Release: September 28, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Announces Arrest of Former Life Agent for Theft
Utah Man Faces 9 Felony Counts; Allegedly Steals $1.7 Million from Seniors
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that Brian Jared Smart, 35, has been arrested by police from Lehi, Utah and has been extradited to Orange County by Investigators from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), Investigation Division's Criminal Operations - Point of Sale [COPS] Team.If convicted, he could face 25 years and four months in State Prison.
In 2008, CDI Investigation Division received a request for assistance involving an elderly victim whose monthly interest and dividend payments had ceased. The elderly victim entrusted Smart to manage her money in order to receive these payments to pay for her monthly living expenses. It has been alleged that along with the cessation of these payments, Smart did not provide legitimate records documenting what he did with the victim's money.
An investigation revealed that from 2005-2006, Smart, doing business as AIM/Smart and Smart Assets, LLC in Orange County, had represented to his clients that he would manage their money by investing in insurance annuities and other safe investments. Smart took possession and/or control of no less than $1,780,000 from at least five elderly victims, and is alleged to have diverted their money into his own bank accounts and personal investments without their knowledge or approval. Smart, who moved to Utah in 2006, continued to provide updates to his victims indicating that their money was safe, earning interest, and issued some victims periodic interest or dividend payments.
However, by 2008, Smart allegedly stopped paying interest or dividends and did not comply with his victims' demands for the return of their money. Bank records show that Smart allegedly used the money to pay for personal living expenses and also invested in other high risk investments on his own behalf. After a felony complaint was filed by the Orange County District Attorney alleging nine counts of theft from an elder, three counts of grand theft, along with one count each of embezzlement, forgery and money laundering, he was arrested and extradited to California. Smart, who is scheduled to be arraigned today in Orange County Superior Court, is currently in custody. The District Attorney is requesting a bail amount of $1,786,000.
Smart's life agent license was valid from August 17, 1999 to August 31, 2007, when it lapsed and was not renewed.
This case is being prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.