Orange, California – Robert Stoddard, a former licensed insurance agent in San Clemente was arrested this week after investigations from the California Department of Insurance found that he allegedly stole $1.2 million dollars from more than 20 victims, including 14 seniors.
Stoddard, 66, who owned and operated his own insurance company, The Stoddard Group, Inc., is suspected of stealing money from at least 20 of his clients, a majority of which are elderly people.
According to the CDI investigation, Stoddard organized investment and retirement-related seminars between August 2012 and June 2018.
Scheming Behind His Clients’ Trust
Robert Stoddard utilized different schemes in order to gain his victims’ trust, including fraudulent real estate investments, convincing his victims to pay their premiums directly to him instead of the insurance company.
He led his victims to believe that he gained bonuses from insurance companies that they could apply to their existing life policy and/or annuity contracts if they paid their premiums directly to him.
To keep his ruse going, he allegedly informed his victims that real estate ventures were “defunct”, or there were problems with the tenants when they started questioning him about the lack of promised funds. He also signed promissory notes to mitigate their concerns.
The California Department of Insurance added that he forged checks, emails, and letters to convince his victims that he was doing legitimate business.
“This insurance agent allegedly violated his victims’ trust and placed them at financial risk for his own gain,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.
Robert Stoddard is facing 139 charges, court records show. The felony counts include grand theft, elderly abuse, money laundering, securities violations, and aggravated white-collar crime enhancement.
His arraignment is scheduled for September 15, 2021, in Orange Superior Court, according to a statement released by CDI.
His bail was initially set at $1 million, however, it was eventually set to “no bail” because of a previous unrelated financial elder abuse case.