“Kudos to the investigators who worked to financially protect the U.S. service members who were targeted and became victims of this tax and insurance scheme. Through restitution, the victims will receive money that was spent on insurance they either didn’t need or couldn’t afford.” - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SAN DIEGO – On June 14, 2021, Paul Flanagan was sentenced to 357 days of house arrest and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution for defrauding thousands of U.S. Navy sailors in San Diego County through a tax and insurance scheme.
The scheme, perpetrated through a company called Go Navy Tax Services, sold expensive and unnecessary insurance products to service members at a substantial commission for the defendants.
Flanagan was sentenced after pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit insurance twisting, or making misrepresentations to consumers to induce them to take out insurance policies. A second defendant, Ranjit Kalsi previously pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft, a felony, and was sentenced on February 10, 2021, to serve 358 days in custody and pay $500,000 in restitution. A third defendant, Gregory Martin, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft, a misdemeanor, on December 7, 2020, and received credit for 517 days served in custody.
The defendants operated Go Navy Tax Services out of a trailer located just outside of the front gate of Naval Base San Diego that advertised free income tax preparation services for military members. The trailer was adorned with military flags intended to deceive service members into thinking the business was affiliated with the U.S. military. The defendants lured service members into the trailer under the pretext of free tax preparation services. The defendants then persuaded service members to purchase retirement accounts, but rather than opening those accounts, the defendants used those service members’ personal information to open unnecessary life insurance policies without their knowledge or consent. The defendants earned more than $2 million in commissions related to sales of nearly 5,000 applications for life insurance policies and annuity contracts.
The investigation was a joint effort by the California Department of Justice, San Diego District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Insurance, Office of the Inspector General-Navy Region Southwest, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The investigation also received critical support from Naval Base San Diego and the Navy Region Legal Service Office Southwest Legal Assistance Department.