Southland husband and wife arrested for allegedly scamming seniors
News: 2018 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Clement Ignatius Lancelot Chichester, 68, and Brittney Jade Sias, 56, both from the Los Angeles area, were arrested at their residence this morning by detectives from the California Department of Insurance for allegedly scamming a senior victim out of more than $1 million in cash and property. The two face more than two dozen felony counts, including identity theft, embezzlement, forgery and fraud.
"Chichester and Sias allegedly used their victim's financial resources to live the high life," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Crimes against vulnerable seniors are reprehensible. We are focused on aggressively investigating alleged financial crimes against seniors and working with prosecutors to bring those responsible to justice."
According to department investigators, evidence revealed the suspects, who were licensed insurance agents at the time, earned large commissions by allegedly selling numerous unnecessary and unsuitable annuities to their elderly victim who was in her 80s. The suspects later convinced their victim to liquidate the annuity policies in order the re-invest the funds in real estate investment trusts, which also earned the suspects additional large commission payments. As a result of their alleged misconduct, the victim suffered financial losses exceeding $300,000.
Evidence also revealed in 2014, Chichester allegedly persuaded the victim to sell him a residential property she owned for half of its market value. No appraisal was performed prior to the sale and some of the money used to purchase the property allegedly came from another victim of Sias' scams. The property was valued at approximately $1,000,000 but the victim only received $68,858.17 from Chichester. In early 2015, the suspects allegedly tricked the victim to file full re-conveyance documents with the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office giving up all ownership rights to Chichester.
The investigation is ongoing and the Department of Insurance Investigation Division is concerned there are more victims. If you or a family member have done business with Chichester and Sias and are concerned about any transactions, please contact the Investigation Division at the California Department of Insurance Valencia Regional Office at (661) 253-7500. The department's licensing bureau has revoked Chichester and Sias' licenses.
Chichester was booked into the Los Angeles County jail, located downtown in the twin towers, while Sias was booked into the Los Angeles County Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. If convicted on all counts, Chichester faces more than 35 years in prison and Sias faces more than nine years. Bail is set at $1.45 million for Chichester and $450,000 for Sias.
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- Link to arrest photos
- Copy of felony complaint
- On October 5, 2017, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority permanently barred Chichester and Sias from acting as investment brokers.
- On October 11, 2017, the California Department of Insurance revoked the insurance agent licenses for both Chichester and Sias.
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.