Veterans life insurance

A scammer went to different types of big houses to scam US veterans and retirees out of $310 million

Scott Kohn, 68, of Newport, Calif., was sentenced to 10 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme that resulted in losses of $310million for retirees and left thousands of veterans struggling with operating loans, the Justice Department said. (Case)

A California man who orchestrated a nationwide Ponzi scheme targeting military veterans and other retirees has been sentenced by a South Carolina federal judge to 10 years in prison.

Scott Kohn, 68, of Newport, ran a company called Future Income Payments and a predecessor known as Pensions, Annuities and Settlements. The program lasted from 2011 to 2018, according to Federal Court documents.

In addition to the jail sentence, U.S. District Judge Bruce Hendricks ordered Kohn to forfeit $297 million during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

Kohn and his associates solicited retirees in financial difficulty, according to a statement from the Department of Justice on Thursday. They offered their clients lump sum payments in return for giving up rights to their monthly pensions and disability benefits.

The company offered these deals as sales, but they were actually loans with annual interest rates of up to 240%, according to court documents.

The scheme resulted in more than $310 million in losses among 2,500 retirees and also burdened 13,000 veterans with predatory loans, according to the Justice Department statement.

Through advertisements, websites, cold calls and email campaigns, the company appealed to consumers in need of cash, claiming that its product would be useful for “paying off credit cards and high-interest debt,” according to court documents.

“Kohn and his co-conspirators reached across the country to rob veterans and senior citizens who desperately needed their money,” Adair Boroughs, U.S. District Attorney for South Carolina, said in the Department of Health statement. Justice. “These hundreds of millions of losses will reverberate through the lives of victims long after the defendants have served well-deserved federal prison sentences.”

While the case was tried in South Carolina, a search of a federal court database showed that Kohn had faced dozens of lawsuits across the country in recent years.

According to a 2018 lawsuit filed in California by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some consumers were required to purchase life insurance policies that named Kohn’s company as the beneficiary as a condition of doing business.

Kohn’s co-conspirators were also charged with conspiracy for their role in the scheme. Kraig Aiken, 53, of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., pleaded guilty in 2019. David Kenneally, 59, of Greenville, SC, and Melanie Jo Schulz-Miller, 40, of Peoria, Arizona, pleaded guilty in 2020 And Joseph Hipp, 52, of St. Louis, pleaded guilty in 2021.

Sentencing hearings have yet to be scheduled for any of Kohn’s co-conspirators.