A Florida jury found the self-styled “Annuity King,” Phillip Roy Wasserman guilty today of defrauding investors with his FastLife life insurance products.
Wasserman confirmed the verdict via an email. The federal government alleges that he perpetrated a $6.3 million fraud via sales of life insurance and annuity products.
Wasserman was found guilty on all nine charges, he said. 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, Wasserman said, adding that he will appeal.
“The jury got it wrong,” he wrote. “Not the first time in America and not the last time.”
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.
Ponzi scheme alleged
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.
The indictment also alleges that Wasserman took numerous steps to evade payment of more than $900,000 in taxes and filed false individual and corporate income tax returns. It also alleges that Rossman filed false income tax returns for himself and for victim-investors.
Wasserman has said that an independent forensic audit concluded that he took just $1.5 million from the company over five years.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has 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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