San Bernardino County prosecutors have charged a former Lake Forest insurance agent with attempting to steal more than $47,950 from elderly customers, state officials said Monday (May 2).
Alan Douglas Armstrong, 56, faces five counts of stealing from an elder in a case originally filed in San Bernardino County court in February, according to court documents. He was formally indicted on Monday for crimes that allegedly took place between December 2018 and April 2019.
The California Department of Insurance began investigating the previously licensed agent’s dealings after receiving a complaint from the child of one of its clients, CDI officials said in a news release Monday. They learned that their parents had taken money out of their annuities to personally loan Armstrong more than $47,950.
Investigators also found that Armstrong persuaded clients to withdraw funds from an annuity and purchase another a few days later. This caused the victims to incur more than $24,000 in surrender costs.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that people are going after the elderly to steal their hard-earned nest egg,” California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a statement Monday.
Insurance Department officials also accused Armstrong of falsely claiming that his clients would make more money than they were penalized by financing his investments. He told them they were on the list of beneficiaries of a $500,000 collateral policy, but that policy did not exist, CDI officials said in their press release.
Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Armstrong on April 28. He attended an arraignment hearing on Monday and remained in custody in lieu of a $102,500 bond, inmate records show. The Department of Insurance revoked his license on March 9.
It was not immediately clear from online records whether a lawyer had been appointed to defend him.