Close X

Founder of Irvine-based Financial Services Firm Arrested in Scheme that Allegedly Stole more than $4 Million from Investors

Posted by Fay Arfa | May 04, 2018 | 0 Comments

SANTA ANA, California – The CEO of an Irvine-based financial services and insurance company was arrested this morning on federal charges of defrauding about a dozen victims who thought their money was being invested in a certificate of deposit at a major bank.

The scam allegedly run out of Five Star Financial Services of America, LLC targeted the retirement accounts and savings of elderly investors and other vulnerable victims, according to a federal criminal complaint that notes one 70-year-old victim lost nearly all of his $1.6 million investment with Five Star.

This morning, FBI and IRS special agents arrested Memet Fatih Biyikoglu, 50, of Palm Desert, who was Five Star's chief executive officer and was known to some victims as “John B.” Biyikoglu is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.

Anna Marie Holt, 58, of Fountain Valley, who was the president and chief operating officer of Five Star, is expected to self-surrender to authorities this afternoon. Holt also is expected to make her first court appearance this afternoon in federal court in Santa Ana.

A third defendant named in the criminal complaint – Ida Shaghoian, 38, of Palm Desert, a sales agent with Five Star and Biyikoglu's ex-wife – is currently being sought by federal agents.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Biyikoglu, Shaghoian and Holt solicited investors to put retirement funds, savings, and other assets in a certificate of deposit held at JP Morgan Chase Bank with promises that the investments were safe and would generate large returns.

In reality, the Chase bank CD did not exist, and the defendants used the victims' money for their own personal use, which included paying for real estate, jewelry and a Ferrari, the complaint alleges. As part of the scheme, victims were given bogus Chase Bank statements to make it appear their money had been legitimately invested.

To date, the investigation has identified 11 victims who transferred at least $4,088,338 to Five Star in 2014 and 2015, according to the complaint. Several of the victims lost their entire retirement savings.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

The investigation into Five Star Financial Services is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott D. Tenley of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

Component(s): USAO – California, Central

Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney's Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) 213-894-6947

Press Release Number: 18-072Updated May 3, 2018

Central District of California DOJ / 18-072 / May 3, 2018

About the Author

Fay Arfa

Fay Arfa has the distinction of being Certified as a Specialist in two separate areas of law – Criminal Law as well as Appellate Law – by the California State Bar, Board of Specialization. The National Board of Trial Advocacy has also awarded her a board Certification in Criminal Trial Advocacy. ...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Board Certifications

Contact Us Today

Fay Arfa is committed to answering your questions about Trials, Appeals, Habeas Corpus, State Crimes, Federal Crimes, and Sex Crimes law issues in California.

We offer a free telephone consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.