Phillip Roy Wasserman is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in his $6.3 million fraud case and Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell appears determined to avoid any further delays.
“The Court has set aside all day for the sentencing hearing and it is the Court’s intent to conclude the sentencing hearing on January 12,” the judge’s order states.
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. The self-styled “Annuity King” in Florida promotions, Wasserman ran a fraud totaling $6.3 million, the government alleged, money it seeks to recover.
Sentencing was originally scheduled for September, but has been delayed several times. The government has asked for a sentence that starts at 27 years, which Wasserman said “would effectively be a life sentence,” in a presentencing report filed Jan. 2.
Wasserman, 67, asks for a sentence of seven years probation in the report.
“Mr. Wasserman has been financially, personally, emotionally, and physically depleted by this case,” the report states. “Mr. Wasserman has neither the inclination nor the energy to engage in any conduct that could even possibly be seen as illegal while under the watchful eye of United States Probation. A probation sentence is sufficient to adequately deter Mr. Wasserman from any future crimes.”
Wasserman files new motions
Meanwhile, Wasserman filed an emergency motion for a new trial last week, as well as a motion to withdraw his guilty plea to additional counts of tax evasion. Both motions are based on the government miscalculating how much Wasserman owed in taxes, court documents say.
“The United States knowingly withheld evidence that Mr. Wasserman has made over $500,000.00 in payments towards the tax lines,” reads the motion to withdraw the guilty plea. “Mr. Wasserman based his plea on a material misrepresentation by the government. Therefore, Mr. Wasserman’s plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered into. Furthermore, the government cannot be prejudiced in that the plea was only entered into based on the government’s own misconduct.”
Judge Honeywell ordered the government to file a response to the motions by Wednesday morning and scheduled a hearing Thursday.
In its indictment, the government claimed that Wasserman avoided taxes in the years 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. After years of collection efforts, the Internal Revenue Service wrote off more than $800,000 in uncollected taxes, the indictment said.
Wasserman faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine on the tax charge.
The government claims Wasserman with Kenneth Rossman, lied and concealed information to convince elderly victim-investors to put their money into Wasserman’s life insurance venture called, “FastLife.”
Despite facing a sentencing range of 30 to 37 months, Rossman was sentenced to probation in August. 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.
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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