Feds: Woman used annuities, life insurance in $2.5M scam
October 12, 2018 by N/A
October 12, 2018, Chicago, IL — A 55-year-old Chicago woman was charged with criminal mail fraud Wednesday after allegedly swindling the elderly out of millions of dollars through multiple Niles companies she owned, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.
Lucita Zamoras defrauded older clients out of more than $2.5 million by “(holding) herself out as a financial adviser specializing in retirement planning,” according to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the Illinois Northern District.
“Zamoras offered financial services and purported investment opportunities through her companies, which included financial advice, retirement and estate planning, tax preparation, the sale of financial products such as life insurance and annuities and purported real estate investment opportunities,” the complaint states.
Listed among the Niles companies she owned and controlled were First Fidelity Financial Group LLC, JQH Ventures LLC, and Cornerstone Home Solutions. Zamoras could not immediately be reached.
The alleged swindling began in about October 2009 and continued until at least August, a U.S. Attorney’s Office official said.
The complaint charges that Zamoras falsely claimed that client funds would be invested in low-risk investments while she was spending some or all of the money on personal and business expenses.
Some of those expenses were listed as gambling costs, payroll, credit card payments, airline tickets, car payments and utilities.
Zamoras is said in the criminal charge to have targeted elderly clients, particularly immigrants. The complaint states she defrauded at least 12 investors through her Niles companies.
“The defendant…devised, intended to devise, and participated in a scheme to defraud investors, and to obtain money and property from investors by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and by means of material omissions,” the complaint states.
The charge against Zamoras alleges she attempted to conceal her actions by using newly raised investment funds to make Ponzi-type payments to earlier investors.
An arraignment date for Zamoras has not yet been scheduled, officials said.
Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.