A 37-year-old former insurance agent has been sentenced to six years in prison for pillaging the retirement accounts of 18 victims, including a 91-year-old woman.
Joseph Ramiro Garcia, formerly of Brea, was also ordered to pay $459,721 in restitution. He pleaded guilty Monday to multiple felony counts of grand theft, insurance fraud and elder abuse.
Between December 2014 and January 2015, Garcia submitted seven fraudulent life insurance applications, causing an insurance company to issue $50,346.63 in advance commissions, with Garcia receiving $20,382.65, according to court records.
Between February 2014 through February 2018, he embezzled about $586,900 from 18 victims, with most of the money coming from IRA or 401(k) retirement accounts, according to court records.
The money was placed into a bank account controlled by Garcia, who promised the victims that their retirement accounts would be rolled over into better-paying plans. Many of the victims considered Garcia a friend, according to investigators, who said Garcia spent the money on personal expenses such as designer clothes, Disneyland season passes, restaurant dining and traveling.
The total loss was estimated by prosecutors at the end of last year at $649,253. Four victims were older than 65, prosecutors said.
Garcia, who was arrested in September and lost his insurance agent license, was given credit for serving 166 days behind bars.