Sentencing for Phillip Roy Wasserman, the self-styled “Annuity King” convicted on fraud charges, was postponed until Oct. 5.
Wasserman had been scheduled for sentencing Wednesday, with the government recommending a prison term of 324 to 405 months. Instead, Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell granted Wasserman’s motion for a continuance so that four out-of-town witnesses can testify on his behalf.
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.
Meanwhile, the judge has yet to rule on Wasserman’s motion to refer government prosecutors for criminal prosecution.
“Defendant has been deprived of his civil rights, more specifically, his Fifth Amendment right to due process and his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him,” Wasserman’s motion reads.
In its presentencing motion, the government claims that Wasserman badgered government investigators and made several unsuccessful attempts to get victim-investors to make untrue allegations against investigators.
“The defendant has also sent countless emails to the agents themselves and to the prosecutors accusing the investigators of misconduct—oftentimes, in the crudest of terms,” the report reads.
More charges to come
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 for the man who called himself the “Annuity King” in central Florida advertising.
“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.
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 its presentencing report, the government defended seeking a stiff sentence for Wasserman while supporting Rossman’s light punishment. Rossman cited a bipolar disorder in arguing for a lighter sentence.
Wasserman “was the architect, organizer, and leader of a significant fraud scheme,” the report states. “He controlled FastLife from start to finish, from top to bottom—directing every aspect of the offense conduct from who to pitch to invest, to what representations to make and which
facts to conceal, to which vendors to contract with and advertising to purchase, to
which bills to pay and when and which not to pay, to how proceeds would be spent
to enrich his lifestyle and that of his family members.
“He defrauded 32 victim-investors, causing them to suffer nearly $6 million in net losses—in some instances, substantial financial hardship—as well as significant emotional distress.”
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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