A pair of Tampa judges rejected two appeals this week by Phillip Roy Wasserman, the self-styled “Annuity King,” as his sentencing on fraud charges nears.
Judge Sean P. Flynn denied Wasserman’s request to be freed on bond. Wasserman, scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 6 on fraud charges, is under 24-hour home incarceration with electronic monitoring, with exceptions for medical necessities, court appearances and court obligations.
Wasserman was convicted May 15 on nine felony counts. The three most serious – wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud – all carry maximum sentences of 20 years. A preliminary presentence investigation report from the government recommends a prison term of 324 to 405 months.
“[G]iven the lengthy sentence recommended by the advisory sentencing guidelines, there is an increased risk that Wasserman will flee,” Flynn’s order reads.
Extensive fraud outlined
The government claims Wasserman, 66, with Kenneth Rossman, lied and concealed information to convince elderly victim-investors to put their money into Wasserman’s life insurance venture called, “FastLife.”
The government claims the fraud totaled $6.3 million, money it seeks to collect from both men. There are tax charges as well.
“The evidence also established that Wasserman took numerous affirmative steps to evade payment of more than $900,000 in taxes due and owed,” U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg, representing the Middle District of Florida, has said.
Wasserman’s trial on tax evasion is set to begin Oct. 30.
Misconduct alleged, and rejected
Judge Thomas G. Wilson denied another appeal filed by Wasserman alleging prosecutorial misconduct. Wasserman claimed the government withheld evidence of Rossman’s mental illness and requested a new trial.
Wasserman will appeal Wilson’s ruling this week, he vowed today. “The government hid the fact that Rossman was mentally ill,” he said via email. “It’s the same stuff that this U.S. attorney’s been pulling for 20 years.”
Wilson sided with the government in finding Wasserman’s arguments, “lackluster and conclusory.” Rossman, the accountant sidekick in the fraud, cited a bipolar disorder in arguing for a lighter sentence.
Despite facing a sentencing range of 30 to 37 months, Rossman was sentenced to probation last month. He 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” in a plea deal with the federal government.
In a response filed this week, government attorneys claimed Rossman’s mental health issues have no bearing on Wasserman’s conviction.
“The diagnosis and prescription medication do not reflect positively on the defendant,” the response reads. “They do not negate the voluminous evidence of his development, operation, and control of every aspect of the FastLife fraud scheme. They do not erase the enormous personal benefit the defendant and his family members enjoyed at the expense of FastLife victim-investors or, for that matter, the multitude of others who suffered financial loss as a result of the defendant’s criminal conduct.”
In yet another filing, Wasserman alerted the court to his ongoing health issues. Wasserman is battling stage two melanoma and is undergoing blood testing to determine whether he has stage three kidney failure.
Senior Editor John Hilton covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
© Entire contents copyright 2023 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.
The post ‘Annuity King’ deemed a flight risk as sentencing nears on fraud conviction appeared first on Insurance News | InsuranceNewsNet.