Former Insurance Broker Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Insurance Companies And Individual Investors Out Of More Than $1-Million
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ROCHESTER, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Brian Bartz, 39, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The charges carry a mandatory minimum term of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum of 22 years imprisonment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who is handling the case, stated that between January 2015, and January 2020, the defendant was employed as an insurance broker at several different life insurance companies, selling and servicing policies and receiving commissions and bonuses for selling such policies. In connection with his employment, Bartz submitted approximately 105 fraudulent policy applications in various individuals’ names without their knowledge, utilizing actual names, social security numbers, and dates of birth. As a result, life insurance policies were issued, and the defendant was paid a total of $382,740.63 in commissions and bonuses he was not entitled to receive. Bartz also used approximately $70,579.83 that he fraudulently withdrew from various bank accounts of unsuspecting clients in order to pay policy premiums on the fraudulent life insurance policies he obtained.
In addition, Bartz defrauded his insurance clients and potential clients by falsely claiming to also be an investment advisor, persuading individuals to invest funds that he never invested nor intended to invest. Rather than investing such funds on behalf of his clients, Bartz used them for himself, by gambling with them or paying back prior investors. To prevent victims from inquiring about their investments, Bartz issued fake account statements. The victims included a widow who “invested” a $332,500 payout from her deceased husband’s life insurance policy with the defendant. Bratz stole all but $10,000 of that widow’s investment.
In total, the loss amount for Bartz’s schemes is approximately $1,026,668.46.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, and the New York State Department of Financial Services, under the direction of Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2021, before Judge Siragusa.
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