Smith, a 60-year-old
The charges Smith is facing are two counts of mail fraud and one count each of wire fraud and money laundering. Each count is punishable by 20 years in prison. Three of the counts each carry a fine of up to
The investigation, which was led by
Smith is being held on
Cases are transferred from state to federal authorities because they have more resources to handle a case involving such a large investigation involving many victims. Federal prosecutions often result in longer prison sentences.
As part of his scheme, Smith allegedly solicited clients to purchase life insurance and other insurance policies and financial products. But instead of purchasing the policies or investing their money, Smith allegedly helped himself to their money.
In some of the cases, Smith advised clients to make payments to
Smith also allegedly cashed out or cancelled policies and annuities without his clients' permission, using the cash and subsequent premium payments to pay personal attorney's and bankruptcy fees, as well as to pay off other clients who he was defrauding.
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