“California Department of Insurance investigators work to protect consumers from dishonest insurance agents who put their clients at risk and harm them financially. These investigators are diligent in their work, able to make arrests, and assist local district attorneys’ offices with prosecution.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
ORANGE – On August 18, 2021, formerly licensed insurance agent Robert Stoddard, 66, of San Clemente, was arrested after a California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigation found he allegedly stole more than $1.2 million from more than 20 victims, including 14 seniors. 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, The Stoddard Group, Inc., that also offered living trusts and investment advice. CDI’s investigation revealed that between August 2012 and June 2018, Stoddard conducted investment and retirement related seminars that targeted senior citizens and used various schemes to fraudulently gain victims’ trust and cultivate friendships in order to steal money from them.
Stoddard led victims to believe he obtained bonuses from insurance companies that he could apply to their existing life policies and/or annuity contracts if they paid their premiums directly to him, rather than to the insurance company. He then failed to place the annuity and life insurance policies and also induced his victims into a fraudulent real estate investment scheme.
Stoddard forged insurance statements, e-mails, and letters, which led victims to believe the information he relayed to them was true. He would occasionally pay a few investment returns to victims, but those were later halted.
When victims questioned the lack of promised funds, Stoddard told them the real estate ventures were “defunct” or there were problems with tenants. He also signed promissory notes to cement victims’ confidence in their investments and mitigate their concerns. To further delay payment of their investments or insurance policy bonuses, Stoddard falsely claimed his funds were levied by different governmental agencies.
Stoddard’s bail was originally set at $1 million. However, after being taking into custody, his bail was increased to a “no bail” hold due to a previous unrelated financial elder abuse case.
This case is being prosecuted by the Major Fraud Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s office.