News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: November 24, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Poizner Announces 18-Year Prison Sentence And $4.3 Million In Restitution Against Sacramento Man
Guilty plea entered in Sacramento case on 13 Felony counts of Grand Theft
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that William A. Sassman, 42, of Sacramento has plead guilty to 13 felony counts of grand theft in a ponzi scheme that he was arrested for last year. Sassman has been in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail since his arrest on November 16, 2009. Initially, he was arrested on 100 counts including felony grand theft, burglary charges and one additional count of using a scheme to defraud. He faces 18 years in prison and $4.3 million in restitution.
"When we receive complaints about scammers targeting seniors, we take swift action to put a stop to it," said Commissioner Poizner. "Preying on our senior citizens is especially disgusting and those who do will be investigated, caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
A joint California Department of Insurance (CDI) and California Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation revealed that more than half of the 35 known victims were senior citizens. The total loss that resulted from Sassman's five-year Ponzi scheme was $6.3 million. Sassman will be formally sentenced in Sacramento Superior Court on January 7, 2011.
In Feb. 2006, the Department of Corporations issued a "desist and refrain" order to stop Sassman from selling unauthorized securities under various company names. Sassman's scheme involved the use of various company names, including Formulating Insurance Agency LLC, Formulating Investments, InTex LLC, and Systematic Management Services LLC. Through misrepresentation and deceit, Sassman convinced clients to invest funds into various joint ventures that ultimately failed.
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned. Ponzi schemes require an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going. In Sassman's case, most of the money taken in had been used to support a lavish lifestyle, and investors were kept at bay by receiving small payments of money taken from new investors.
Sassman has been a licensed life insurance agent since 1992. Sassman's insurance license was formally revoked by the Department of Insurance on February 27, 2010.
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