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Press Release

California man pleads guilty to defrauding local business out of $10 million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
Defendant used stolen funds to buy yacht, amphibious plane, luxury vehicle

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A California man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to embezzling more than $10.2 from his employer and violating orders of the Court in a lawsuit against him.

Brinson Caleb Silver, 43, of Culver City, California, pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and contempt of court. As part of his guilty plea, Silver agrees to pay more than $10.2 million in restitution.

According to court documents, Silver was the Chief Marketing Officer of Root, Inc., an online car insurance company. From November 2021 through November 2022, Silver entered into contracts with four vendors for marketing services. Silver directed the vendors to send a portion of their contract proceeds to bank accounts in the names of businesses that Silver owned and controlled. Those diverted payments totaled more than $10.2 million.

Silver used the millions he embezzled to buy a $1.4 million dollar yacht, a Mercedes-Benz G550 for nearly $165,000, an amphibious plane, luxury watches and other items.

As a result of his fraud scheme, in February 2023, Root sued Silver. The Court granted a motion in his civil suit that limited him to financial transactions no greater than $5,000. Silver failed to appear in court for a hearing related to his civil suit and instead spent lavishly while traveling the globe.

His expenditures in February and March 2023 violated the Court’s orders and include $20,000 on plastic surgery, more than $25,000 at Indonesian businesses (including $8,000 at a luxury resort in Bali) and in withdrawals made in Indonesia, and more than $88,000 through PayPal to individuals. Silver also withheld from the Court information about a $1.8 million house he owned in California. During this time, Silver also made two phone calls to an “international relocation” company and asked for citizenship within a country that would not extradite him to the United States, and a foreign bank account that the United States could not freeze.

Silver was charged criminally and arrested in June 2023. Parties involved in his case have recommended a sentence range of 24 to 51 months in prison in addition to the $10.2 million in restitution.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; announced the guilty plea entered today before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. Assistant United States Attorneys Peter K. Glenn-Applegate and David J. Twombly are representing the United States in this case.

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Updated November 28, 2023

Financial Fraud