‘Annuity King’ begins defense after judge denies acquittal motion
A Florida judge denied a defense motion for acquittal last week in the fraud trial of Phillip Roy Wasserman, the self-styled “Annuity King.”
Wasserman, who also has a law degree, is handling his own defense, which began late last week. The federal government alleges that he perpetrated a $6.3 million fraud via sales of life insurance and annuity products.
In an email exchange, Wasserman correctly noted that motions for acquittal are rarely granted in the middle of a trial and added that he “expect[s] to be fully acquitted.” Wasserman’s defense will include testimony from a forensic certified public accountant, he added.
Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell recently approved a $33,615 invoice from WISS & Co. for “expert financial services” on behalf of Wasserman’s defense. On Friday, day 24 of the trial, Wasserman called two former customers who bought his FastLife life insurance policies, as well as a former employee.
According to the government’s amended 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.
The three most serious charges – wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud – all carry maximum sentences of 20 years.
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.
In exchange for the plea, Rossman “agrees to cooperate fully” with the government “in the investigation and prosecution of other persons, and to testify” during the fraud trial, court documents read.
Rossman took the stand two weeks ago and testified for three days, according to court documents, concluding Tuesday. Wasserman made an oral request for a mistrial the following day, court documents say, which the judge also denied.
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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