LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today returned an 11-count indictment that alleges a Santa Barbara man
The feds charged Darrell Arnold Aviss, 63, of Santa Barbara, was charged today with five counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering. He allegedly stole about $12 million from people who said Aviss promised their money would be used to purchase annuities from Swiss insurance companies. Aviss ran the scheme from at least 2012 through last summer, soliciting money from people who wanted to purchase annuities from insurance companies based in Switzerland. Aviss claimed the Swiss annuities he offered were safe and secure, and, in some instances, he allegedly told victims the annuities would pay interest rates ranging from 5 to 7 percent. But, Aviss allegedly Instead of buying annuities, Aviss allegedly used the victims' money for his own purposes and to support his lavish lifestyle. Court documents say he used the money for, among other things, including Ponzi payments to victims, mortgage payments, luxury car leases, expensive watches, trips to Monaco, more than $100,000 in purchases at a Santa Barbara nightclub, and 20 tickets to a U2 concert and after-party.
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.
The indictment charges Aviss with five counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison; one count of concealment money laundering, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years; and five counts of laundering criminal proceeds in excess of $10,000, each of which carries a potential sentence of 10 years.