‘Annuity King’ asks Florida judge to acquit fraud conviction, grant new trial
Phillip Roy Wasserman – the self-styled “annuity king” – convicted earlier this month of scamming seniors out of $6.3 million, is asking a Florida judge for acquittal on all charges.
In the alternative, Wasserman’s attorneys want a new trial, “in the interest of justice,” reads the motion filed today. Attorneys will filed a new motion over the weekend, Wasserman said, but the request will be the same: a new trial.
“I was convicted of making interest payments, so that’s mail fraud wire fraud?” Wasserman said today. “The jury totally ignored the numbers.”
Wasserman found guilty of 9 fraud charges
Wasserman was found guilty May 15 on nine fraud charges stemming from sales of life insurance and annuity products. The three most serious charges – wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud – all carry maximum sentences of 20 years.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 17. If the judge does not grant the motion for a new trial, “we are 100% certain this case will be overturned on appeal,” Wasserman said.
According to the government’s indictment, Wasserman, also a licensed insurance agent, allegedly worked in tandem with Kenneth Rossman, a Florida certified public accountant and licensed insurance agent, to convince elderly investors to put their money into FastLife.
In July 2021, Rossman accepted a plea deal. According to court documents, Rossman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and one count of “aiding and assisting the preparation and filing of fraud and false tax returns.” The two counts carry a maximum of eight years behind bars.
Rossman is scheduled to be sentenced July 12.
‘Literally no evidence’
In their appeal for a new trial, Wasserman’s attorneys argue that Rossman’s testimony proved nothing.
“At trial, there was literally no evidence presented by the government that Mr. Wasserman and Mr. Rossman had agreed to accomplish an unlawful plan,” the motion reads. “To the contrary, the only plan Mr. Rossman actually testified that he and Mr. Wasserman agreed to was the plan to quickly grow FastLife and sell the company for a lot of money, which would in turn make all the investors money.”
Wasserman paid Rossman a percentage of the victim-investors’ money as compensation for his role in the conspiracy, prosecutors say. Wasserman also used the victim-investors’ funds to make payments both to earlier victim-investors in the FastLife venture and to victim-investors in his earlier hedge fund and real estate fund ventures, a classic Ponzi scheme.
“Wasserman spent a significant amount of the victim-investors’ money to finance a lavish lifestyle that included luxury residences, high-end vehicles, jet skis, jewelry, entertainment, gambling, retail shopping, home improvements, personal insurance, and many other expenses, for his personal benefit and the benefit of his family members,” prosecutors have said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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