Registered Nurse and Disbarred Attorney Charged with Stealing More Than $2 Million from Elderly Woman’s Estate
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 28, 2013|
ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a registered nurse, formerly of Anchorage, and a recently disbarred California attorney were indicted by the federal grand jury in Anchorage, Alaska, of devising a scheme to obtain in excess of $2 million between May 2007 and August 2009 from the Trusts of Juanita Gielarwoski, now deceased.
Brian Ben-Israel, 53, of Duluth, Georgia, and Philip Eric Myers, 60, of Santa Barbara, California, were charged by the federal grand jury with one count of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Ben-Israel was also charged with three counts of filing false tax returns.
According to the indictment, in 2006, Ben-Israel was a registered nurse residing in Anchorage and working at Meridian Psychiatric Consulting Group. Ben-Israel met and befriended Gielarowski and her daughter, who were both patients of Meridian Psychiatric Consulting Group; Ben-Israel became a health care provider and “financial advisor” to both. Myers, an attorney licensed at the time in the state of California, was versed in trust and estate matters. From at least 2004, Ben-Israel was a business partner and friend of Myers; Ben-Israel introduced Myers to Gielarowski and her daughter.
Myers was the CEO of Typhoon Security Technology Inc., located in California, which was formed in December 2001. As described by Myers, Typhoon Security Technology Inc.’s mission was to become one of the top three global leaders in explosives and weapons detection technology. Ben-Israel had a contract with Typhoon Security Technology Inc. to sell private placement investments for a 10 percent commission. Typhoon Security Technology Inc. was suspended by the state of California in September 2007 and could no longer lawfully conduct business.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2007, Ben-Israel, using his influence over Gielarowski and acting with Myers, devised a scheme to obtain control over the assets of Gielarowski so that Ben-Israel became a named trustee of the estate and obtained signature authority on bank accounts. It further alleges that Ben-Israel and Myers caused over two million dollars of money and assets that were designated for the care and benefit of Gielarowski to be diverted to the personal benefit of Ben-Israel and Myers and also to the benefit of their joint business venture Typhoon Security Technology Inc., including a check for $1million secured as an investment in Typhoon Security Technology Inc. in December 2007.
The maximum penalty for the mail and wire counts is up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Ms. Loeffler commends the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, and the Anchorage Police Department for the investigation of this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.