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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 26, 2020

Former Lawyer And CPA Charged With Defrauding Elderly Investors

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Phillip Roy Wasserman (63, Sarasota) and Kenneth Murry Rossman (62, Bradenton) with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, as well as substantive counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. If convicted on all counts, Wasserman and Rossman each face a maximum penalty of 20 years on each of the six counts charged in the indictment. The indictment also notifies the defendants that the United States is seeking a money judgment of at least $6.3 million, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.

According to the indictment, Wasserman, a former lawyer and licensed insurance agent, and Rossman, a Florida certified public accountant and licensed insurance agent, made false and fraudulent misrepresentations and concealed material information in order to convince elderly victim-investors to put their money into Wasserman’s new insurance venture, “FastLife.” Some victims were persuaded to liquidate traditional investments, such as annuities, and/or to borrow funds against existing life insurance policies to generate cash to invest in the venture. These victims were not told about surrender fees and other costs associated with the liquidations and, Rossman prepared income tax returns for victim-investors in a manner designed to conceal negative personal tax consequences that resulted from the liquidations from both the victim-investors and the Internal Revenue Service. Wasserman paid Rossman a percentage of the victim-investors’ money as compensation for his role in the conspiracy. Wasserman also used victim-investors’ money to make payments to earlier victim-investors in the FastLife venture, as well to as victim-investors in his earlier hedge fund and real estate fund ventures. Wasserman spent a significant amount of the victim-investors’ money to finance a lavish lifestyle that included luxury residences, high-end vehicles, jet skis, jewelry,  entertainment, gambling, retail shopping, home improvements, personal insurance, and many other expenses for his personal benefit and the benefit of family members.      

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.

 

Attachment(s): 
Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated June 26, 2020