Prosecutors: Ruthless Duo 'Slowly Took Control' of Mentally Ill Investor's Life and Stole Millions
Two people have been charged with stealing nearly $3 million from a wealthy ailing investor, moving into his Malibu beach house, claiming to befriend him and giving him drugs, before attempting to steal another $20 million after his death, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Anthony Flores, 46, of Fresno, was arrested last week and pleaded not guilty to felony charges, while Anna Moore, 39, who lives in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested Tuesday in Houston after a plane flight, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California.
She appeared in a Texas court but didn’t enter a plea.
Both will be extradited to California.
They were indicted by a grand jury on Dec. 15. It wasn’t immediately clear whether they had attorneys to speak for them.
Beginning in 2017, Flores, a hairstylist who owned a window cleaning business in Fresno, and Moore, a former yoga studio owner, met an ophthalmologist who was a successful investor but suffered from a mental illness that had gradually left him unable to care for himself, according to prosecutors.
“Within days of meeting the victim, Flores and Moore moved into the victim’s beachfront Malibu home — rent free — and slowly took control of his life by pretending to be his new ‘best friends’ and caregivers,” the statement said.
Flores told the victim’s elderly mother, who lived in Florida, that they were caring for him and “had the victim’s best interests in mind,” according to the indictment, which didn’t identify the victim by name.
Flores later got the victim to sign over power of attorney and opened bank accounts in the victim’s name, according to prosecutors.
For months, Flores and Moore diverted the victim’s money into their own bank accounts, “isolated the victim from his family and longtime friends and provided the victim with drugs, including marijuana and LSD,” the U.S. attorney’s office statement said.
In the final days of his life, the two allegedly gave the physician LSD that caused his mental condition to deteriorate, prosecutors said.
Flores also allegedly changed the phone number and security settings on the physician’s $60-million online brokerage account to access it and wired $2 million to his own bank account.
By this time, the victim had evicted the pair from his home, but they had installed cameras in the beach house and watched his deteriorating condition from a luxury hotel, prosecutors said.
After the victim died in May 2018 at age 57, Flores and Moore moved back into his home and began taking out large amounts of money from his account, prosecutors said.
The indictment didn’t indicate how he died.
Flores and Moore are each charged with felonies, including conspiracy, identity theft, mail fraud and money laundering.
They could face decades in prison if convicted on all counts.
The entire statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California appears below:
LOS ANGELES – A Fresno hairstylist and an actress have been charged in a 12‑count indictment alleging they defrauded a physician out of more than $2.7 million before his death and then attempted to defraud his estate out of an additional amount exceeding $20 million, the Justice Department announced today.
Anthony David Flores, 46, a.k.a. “Anton David,” of Fresno, was arrested last week in Fresno by federal agents. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and is scheduled for a detention hearing on February 10 in the Eastern District of California.
His co-defendant, Anna Rene Moore, 39, an actress and former yoga studio owner who currently resides in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested Tuesday in Houston upon arrival on a flight from Mexico. She made her initial appearance in the Southern District of Texas. Both defendants are expected to appear in Los Angeles federal court in the coming weeks.
Flores and Moore are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, two counts of money laundering, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property.
According to the indictment, beginning in June 2017, Flores and Moore used false promises and representations to befriend the victim — a physician and successful investor worth more than $60 million, but who suffered from a mental illness and lost the ability to care for himself. Within days of meeting the victim, Flores and Moore moved into the victim’s beachfront Malibu home – rent free – and slowly took control of his life by pretending to be his new “best friends” and caregivers.
In September 2017, after the victim suffered a severe mental breakdown resulting in his arrest and detention in Los Angeles County jail, Flores allegedly fraudulently induced the victim to sign powers of attorney granting Flores control over the victim’s finances.
Flores allegedly represented that he would only use these powers to access the victim’s finances to post bail for release, and that he would immediately rescind them once the victim was free from jail. But after the victim was released from custody, Flores allegedly reneged on this promise and used these powers to open bank accounts in the victim’s name, giving himself and Moore access to the victim’s wealth.
From September 2017 to May 2018, Flores and Moore allegedly diverted the victim’s funds to their own bank accounts, isolated the victim from his family and longtime friends and provided the victim with drugs, including marijuana and LSD.
In the final days of the victim’s life, Flores and Moore allegedly gave the victim LSD, which caused his mental state to severely deteriorate. While the victim was under the influence of LSD, Flores allegedly changed the two-step authentication feature on the victim’s $60-million online brokerage account after previously changing the phone number listed on the account from the victim’s phone number to his own phone number.
Four days before the victim’s death and while the victim was still under the influence of LSD that defendants allegedly had provided to him, Flores then allegedly initiated two $1-million wires from the victim’s brokerage account to accounts that Flores controlled, including Flores’ personal bank account. Flores and Moore then left the victim, who by this time was in mental distress and had evicted them from his home. From a luxury hotel paid with the victim’s funds, Flores and Moore allegedly watched the victim’s deteriorating mental condition on the video cameras installed throughout the Malibu beach house.
In May 2018, the victim died in his Malibu home at the age of 57 years old. Following the victim’s death, Flores and Moore moved back into the victim’s Malibu beachfront home and allegedly withdrew large sums of money from his accounts. They allegedly also concealed information about the victim’s finances from his mother and sister, both of whom resided in Florida. This prompted the victim’s family to file a lawsuit, which uncovered the alleged fraud.
In the ensuing lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, Flores and Moore allegedly violated multiple court orders ordering them to return the funds stolen from the victim. They allegedly attempted to launder the fraudulent proceeds by funneling the money through multiple different accounts to thwart the victim’s estate and court-appointed receiver from recouping the money. The lawsuit was settled with Flores and Moore agreeing to repay the victim’s estate $1 million, which they have so far failed to do.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted on all counts, Flores and Moore would face statutory maximum sentences of 20 years in prison for each fraud count, 20 years on the conspiracy to commit money laundering and laundering of monetary instruments counts, 10 years on transactional money laundering count, and a mandatory two-year prison sentence for the aggravated identity theft count.
The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Andrew M. Roach of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section is prosecuting this case.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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