WASHINGTON – A former investment manager was charged in an indictment unsealed today for his alleged participation in a scheme to defraud a North Carolina-based life insurance company out of over $34 million.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina, and Inspector in Charge Delany De Leon-Colon of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Criminal Investigations Group made the announcement.
Bradley Reifler, 61, of Milbrook, New York, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of perjury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The defendant was arrested this morning and will appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine H. Parker in the Southern District of New York.
The indictment alleges that the defendant, CEO and founder of Forefront Capital Holdings, engaged in a scheme to enrich himself and his business entities by defrauding a life insurance company out of assets held in trust for the potential payment of life insurance claims.
As alleged in the indictment, the defendant served as an investment advisor for over $34 million in assets belonging to the life insurance company. Rather than investing the $34 million in permissible investments, the defendant invested funds in high-risk, “junk”, or self-dealing investments and otherwise diverted funds for his personal and business use. The indictment further alleges that after a 2016 audit of the trust assets raised concerns about investments made by the defendant, the defendant concealed the fraud by falsifying and causing others to falsify supporting documentation, including valuations, promissory notes, and agreements, purporting to underly investments made with the trust assets.
The indictment also alleges that the defendant submitted a false declaration in connection with a civil suit brought by the life insurance company, falsely swearing, under penalty of perjury, that all investments had been approved and that all of the funds had been invested in debt instruments. As a result of the defendant’s scheme, the life insurance company was only able to recoup a portion of the approximately $34 million that it entrusted to the defendant, was unable to pay out on claims by its beneficiaries, and was placed in rehabilitation.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by USPIS. Trial Attorneys Michelle Pascucci, Drew Bradylyons, and Jessee Alexander-Hoeppner of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Ruggles of the Middle District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section plays a pivotal role in the Department of Justice’s fight against white collar crime around the country.