Insurance Broker Paid $4 Million for Investment Fraud and Ponzi Scheme

INDIANAPOLIS – A federal grand jury has indicted Brian Simms, 44, of Lebanon, Indiana, on six counts of Wire Fraud. Simms was arrested yesterday and made his first appearance in federal court in Indianapolis yesterday afternoon.

According to court documents, Simms was a licensed insurance broker with his company Brendanwood Financial Brokerage LLC. Simms was not licensed to sell securities or registered to provide financial advisory services. However, starting in 2013, Simms began to persuade customers to cash out or cash out their old and long-term insurance premiums and return the money with Simms in Brendanwood. Simms allegedly made false and fraudulent claims, statements, representations, and promises to investors to invest their money in the stock – when, in fact, he intended to use their money for his own personal gain. Instead of investing the money to buy those involved and the products he promised, Simms used the money to pay for Brendanwood-related business such as wages for his employees, or expenses he used, including credit card payments, Amazon, groceries, gas. , restaurants, and utilities.

To cover up his scheme Simms created false financial records. Simms also embezzled money from those who sold them to make small, Ponzi-style payments to other victims. Simms misled investors into believing that the money he gave them represented returns on legitimate businesses, when the money was siphoned off from his victims. In total, Simms embezzled approximately $3,995,535 from Victim Investors.

Simms made his initial court appearance today before US Magistrate Tim A. Baker of the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and was released on his own recognizance under pretrial supervision. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on each count. A district court judge will make any decision after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other applicable laws.

Zachary A. Myers, US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana said: “Money fraud and Ponzi schemes deprive people who are struggling with their hard-earned money and income. and the authorities will work hard to ensure that those who abuse their fiduciary positions to satisfy their own greed will face the consequences. I encourage investors and anyone else who may have additional information about Brian Simms and Brendanwood Financial Brokerage to come forward to the FBI.”

“This case should serve as a reminder of the FBI’s commitment to aggressively investigate those who use their positions to commit fraud,” said Robert Middleton, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Indianapolis Field Office. “We will continue to work with our partners to protect the economy of honest and hard-working Americans.”

“Managing securities to protect your hard-earned money is one of the most important responsibilities under the Secretary of State’s office,” said Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan. “Hoosiers can check with our office to see if a business or individual seeking funding is properly registered, and you can ask us if anything is suspicious.”

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana Secretary of State’s Securities Division.

If you believe you have information related to fraud involving Brendanwood Financial Brokerage LLC or Brian Simms, contact the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office at 317-595-4000.

United States Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston, who is prosecuting the case.