Trust Administrator Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $1 Million from Trusts of Elderly Clients
SAN DIEGO, CA—United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that Brian Lee of San Diego County was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for embezzling over $1 million from trust accounts he had opened and managed on behalf of an elderly couple.
U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz also ordered Lee to pay over $750,000 in remaining restitution, and commented Lee’s behavior was like “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” as he was “little by little bleeding money away from persons who trusted him and were trying to do charitable things.”
Lee pleaded guilty to wire fraud on February 19, 2014. According to court documents and his admissions, an elderly San Diego couple hired Lee in approximately June 2004 to create trusts and corporations on their behalf in order to manage their assets. The couple also hired and paid Lee to maintain the bank accounts he opened for the couple’s entities.
Soon after opening these accounts, however, Lee began making unauthorized transfers of the couple’s funds and depositing the money into other bank accounts over which he had exclusive control. Lee continued to embezzle funds for almost a decade by systematically withdrawing funds from the couple’s accounts, including one account he opened as a trust account for the couple’s grandchildren. In total, Lee embezzled over $1 million from the couple, much of which he used to pay his own personal expenses.
United States Attorney Duffy said, “It is gratifying to achieve justice on behalf of these senior citizens, who unfortunately placed their trust in Mr. Lee. We hope that this case serves as a deterrent to other fiduciaries and trust administrators who might seek to take advantage of vulnerable victims.”
|DEFENDANT||Case Number: 14CR0385-BTM|
|Brian P. Lee||Age: 44|
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 (Wire Fraud) Maximum penalty: 20 years of custody; $250,000 Fine
Federal Bureau of Investigation