Friday, September 30, 2011

Coto de Caza’s Financial planner convicted of stealing $2.8 Million from elderly

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Coto de Caza, CA  - Hitomi Tsuyuki, a financial planner was convicted today of stealing approximately $2.8 million from vulnerable, elderly people, many of whom he met through his father's church. Tsuyuki, 57, pleaded guilty  to 17 felony counts of the use of untrue statements in the sale of a security, 10 felony counts of theft from an elder, one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of the use of a scheme to defraud, and a sentencing enhancement for causing property damage over $2,500,000. He is expected to be sentenced to 18 years in state prison at his sentencing Oct. 28, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. Some of the victims are expected to make victim impact statements at that time. 

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office, between Nov. 22, 1997, and Nov. 8, 2007, Tsuyuki stole approximately $2.8 million from 33 clients while working as a financial planner by convincing them to invest in bonds with the intention of keeping the money for himself. Many of the victims had been associated with Tsuyuki since he was a child, as they had attended the church where the defendant's father was a minister. The defendant targeted vulnerable elderly victims who trusted him, including those who were recently widowed or who were in need of assistance because of memory loss and early signs of dementia. 

The defendant encouraged victims to invest in an opportunity that he falsely represented as the purchase of a tax free municipal bond. He instructed the victims to make the checks out to his company, Tsuyuki Integrated Financial Resources. Tsuyuki deposited the money into his own accounts instead of investing it as promised. The defendant falsely claimed to be a lawyer who was qualified to assist the victims with estate planning the writing of trusts. Tsuyuki is not and has never been a licensed attorney. 

Tsuyuki also offered victims the opportunity to purchase interest in a money market account, instructed them to make checks out to the money market account fund, and instead deposited the checks into his personal account.

Tsuyuki  then used the stolen money for personal expenses including for his Coto de Caza home, a vacation property in Mammoth, a golf club membership, and cars. 

When victims asked for documentation of their invested money, Tsuyuki created false statements to reassure victims that their investments were safe. He also lied to the victims and claimed that the investment company had a mistake in their records regarding the victim's address to explain why they did not receive regular mail updates. 

Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) Investigators began to review the case after receiving complaints from victims who discovered their investments were lost when they attempted to liquidate the investment. Several victims were unaware that their investments had been embezzled until being contacted by the OCDA.  

Deputy District Attorney Yvette Patko of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.  

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