A recent case of insurance fraud case has taken advantage of five senior citizens who were convinced to sell or surrender their annuities and investment products with promise of higher returns through new investments.
A California resident, John Paul Slawinski, 59, was recently brought into custody for five felony counts of financial elder abuse and five counts of burglary for allegedly ripping off these individuals for more than $2 million collectively.
An investigation was launched by the California Department of Insurance after receiving complaints regarding Slawinski’s business practices – involving the sale and surrender of annuity products.
Investigators allege that Slawinski, a licensed insurance agent, convinced some victims to surrender annuities and investment products with the promise of higher returns through new investments and conned other victims into giving him money to invest for them.
Slawinski did not purchase annuities or investment products, nor did he refund the victims’ money.
“I find it particularly appalling when people in the position of trust violate that trust and take advantage of vulnerable senior citizens,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a press release. “Consumers should be able to trust their agent when making important insurance decisions. Consumers often rely on the advice of their agent when they are taken advantage of the result is often devastating.”
Slawinski concealed his theft by providing the victims with fraudulent financial statements, and by issuing minimum investment payments to lead them to believe their insurance investments and life savings were secure.
Currently, the Department of Insurance (DOI) is looking for additional victims in this case as well as other insurance fraud cases. If you or someone you know has been a victim to insurance fraud, please reach out to the DOI.