SARASOTA — Phillip Roy Wasserman, 63, of Sarasota, and Kenneth Murray Rossman, 62, of Bradenton, previously indicted by a grand jury on wire fraud and other charges stemming from an alleged investment fraud they ran, face additional charges.
The additional charges, in a superseding indictment, include filing false income tax returns, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and substantive counts of wire fraud and mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. The superseding indictment also charges Wasserman with tax evasion and notifies the defendants that the U.S. seeks a money judgment of at least $6.3 million, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.
According to the superseding indictment, Wasserman, a former lawyer and licensed insurance agent, and Rossman, a CPA and licensed insurance agent, made false and fraudulent misrepresentations and concealed material information to convince elderly victim-investors to put their money into Wasserman’s new insurance venture called FastLife.
Some victims were persuaded to liquidate traditional investments, such as annuities and/or to borrow funds against existing life insurance policies to generate cash to invest in the venture, authorities allege, and victims were not told about surrender fees and other costs associated with the liquidations. Rossman prepared income tax returns for victim-investors in a manner designed to conceal negative personal tax consequences that resulted from the liquidations from both the victim-investors and the IRS, officials also allege.
Wasserman allegedly paid Rossman a percentage of the victim-investors’ money as compensation for his role. Wasserman also used the victim-investors’ funds to make payments to earlier victim-investors in the FastLife venture and to victim-investors in his earlier hedge fund and real estate fund ventures, the press release says.
Wasserman spent a significant amount of the victim-investors’ money to finance a lavish lifestyle that included luxury residences, high-end vehicles, jet skis, jewelry, entertainment, gambling, retail shopping, home improvements, personal insurance and other expenses, authorities contend.
The superseding indictment also alleges Wasserman took numerous steps to evade payment of more than $900,000 in taxes and filed false individual and corporate income tax returns. It alleges Rossman filed false income tax returns for himself and for victim-investors.
If convicted, Wasserman and Rossman each face a maximum penalty of 20 years on each of the conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud counts, and up to three years of imprisonment on each count of filing a false income tax return. Wasserman faces a maximum of five years of imprisonment for the tax evasion count.