Former California insurance agent arrested for massive theft

51 felony counts include allegations of grand theft and elder abuse

Former California insurance agent arrested for massive theft

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

A former licensed insurance agent has been arrested for his alleged role in stealing over $1.2 million from more than 20 victims – 14 of which were senior clients of his.

Robert Stoddard, 66, was arrested on August 18, 2021. His bail was initially set at $1 million but was eventually switched to a “no bail” hold due to a previous unrelated financial elder abuse case. He is being charged with 51 felony counts of grand theft, elder abuse, money laundering, securities violations and aggravated white-collar crime enhancements.

Stoddard owned and operated an insurance agency called The Stoddard Group, which offered living trusts and investment advice on top of insurance. An investigation by the California Department of Insurance found that between August 2012 and June 2018, Stoddard held investment and retirement-related seminars for senior citizens, and utilized “various schemes” to gain his victims’ trust.

The former agent allegedly tricked his victims into thinking he had obtained bonuses from insurance companies that he could apply to their existing life policies and/or annuity contracts – as long as his victims paid their premiums directly to him instead of their insurer. But he failed to place the annuity and life insurance policies, and roped his clients into a fraudulent real estate investment scheme.

To keep the ruse going and to continue to dupe his clients, Stoddard forged insurance statements, emails, and even letters to show as proof. He would also occasionally pay several of his clients’ investment returns, but he later stopped paying them. Victims later questioned him about the lack of the funds he had promised, to which he claimed that the real estate ventures were “defunct” or there were problems with tenants.

Stoddard also signed promissory notes to lull victims into thinking their investments were safe, the California Department of Insurance said. To delay payment of their investments, he also falsely claimed that his funds were levied by different government agencies.

“When consumers are planning their future, they rely on insurance agents to help them make important financial decisions. They should feel confident agents act in their best interests,” said California insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara. “This insurance agent allegedly violated his victims’ trust and placed them in financial risk for his own gain.”

Stoddard is scheduled to be arraigned on September 15, 2021 in Orange Superior Court, the California Department of Insurance said in a release. A bail review hearing is scheduled to take place on the same day.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!