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 investors.
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.