Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of Senior Scammer in Annuity Fraud Scheme
Contact: Alexis Lambert
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrest of Victor Edwin Ruser, Sr., 59, of Kissimmee, for allegedly scamming nine seniors between the ages of 80 and 94 out of over $650,000 in an annuity fraud scheme. Ruser was charged with multiple felony counts including exploitation of the elderly, grand theft and perpetrating a scheme to defraud.
“Specifically targeting seniors to defraud them out of their life savings will not be tolerated in Florida,” said CFO Atwater. “These seniors worked hard their entire lives and trusted this individual with the dollars they responsibly set aside for their retirement years. My office will continue to track down these scammers and protect your hard-earned dollars.”
After the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Consumer Services received a complaint from a victim, an investigation by the Division of Insurance Fraud alleged that over a period of seven years Ruser aggressively “churned” annuities of his senior clientele by talking them into terminating their policies and then investing them into new accounts. This caused large surrender charge penalties for the investors involved while Ruser earned commissions on each transaction.
Ruser invested his clients’ money into TruVest, LLC and Alliance Life and Investments Company accounts, which he solely owned and operated. Further investigation revealed no insurance or investment vehicle within these companies and all monies had been converted to Ruser’s personal use.
Ruser was booked into Osceola County Jail on Sunday and is being held with bond set at $1.3 million. If convicted, he could face up to 205 years in prison.
Anyone with information regarding suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Individuals who provide tips can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.