Some investors say they were left in debt, on food stamps, and unable to
pay medical bills after being taken in by an alleged $1.9 million investment
fraud scheme that is said to have focused on elderly and otherwise vulnerable
Robin Brass, a 55-year-old woman from Washington Depot, Connecticut, pleaded
guilty to mail fraud related to the alleged scam in May, and a federal
judge recently sentenced her to eight years in prison. Restitution is
expected to be ordered in the case, but the amount of restitution Brass
will have to pay to harmed investors has not yet been set.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny ordered the stiff sentence for
Brass, stating that her alleged behavior was “beyond the pale and
conscience-shocking.” It is believed that Brass lured investors
in with promises of
high returns but instead used investors’ cash to purchase furnishings for her
home, pay for college tuition, and pay off credit card bills for herself
and her family.
Jacqueline Ascenzi, a wheelchair-bound victim in the alleged scam, stated
that she has been unable to pay for recommended medical treatment and
has been left in debt after losing almost half a million dollars. Katherine
Webster-O’Keefe, also a victim in the scam and reportedly a former
friend of Brass, stated that she and her husband had lost their retirement
savings and were now struggling to pay her mother’s medical bills.
Brass said in a statement that she was sorry for the harm investors suffered,
and her lawyer stated that Brass turned to fraud only after legitimate
investments started to fail.