SAN DIEGO – San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced today, Dec. 27, that defendant Victor James Loh (of Fallbrook) has been sentenced to serve six years and four months in state prison for his part in a scheme to defraud 17 separate victims and the California State Franchise Tax Board of more than $4.25 million dollars. The conviction was obtained after a joint investigation with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Secret Service, San Diego Regional Fraud Task Force, California Department of Insurance and California Franchise Tax Board.
“This defendant preyed on people, many of them elderly, who thought they were making a sound investment but instead saw their retirement dreams go up in smoke,” said DA Dumanis.
Loh and his wife Jannett A. Bidwell, who will be sentenced June 26, 2013, were financial planners and held insurance sales licenses. Prior to 2008, the couple worked as financial planners advising investors to self-direct retirement funds into annuities. From 2008 through 2009, the couple used their position as trusted financial planners to convince 17 victims to lump sum transfer their retirement funds to companies that Loh and Bidwell created, describing them as secure investments.
The companies were actually vehicles for the funds to be transferred out to other Loh and Bidwell controlled accounts. The couple then spent the proceeds of their clients’ retirement funds on personal expenses including expensive cars, horses, and trips. The couple also purchased a company that later went into bankruptcy. While that company was in bankruptcy proceedings, they continued to solicit victims to invest their retirement funds in the couple’s ‘secure investments.’
Loh and Bidwell were charged in a 46-count criminal complaint with grand theft, theft from elder or dependent adult, sale of unqualified security, using false statements in the sale of a security, subscribe a fraudulent return, and allegations of aggravated white collar crime enhancement, and taking with losses in excess of $1.3 million. Victor Loh pleaded guilty to four counts and the great taking allegation, stipulating him to $4.25 million in restitution and a six-year, four-month state prison sentence.