Rancho Mirage Woman Wins Settlement from Annuity Scam


Lump sum versus annuity

Unlike most people that want to sell annuity payments to make money, Lois Brown just wanted her money back. In an outcome that’s being hailed as a win for senior citizens everywhere, one Rancho Mirage woman won an annuity settlement case against an insurance man she believes manipulated her into a scam. A settlement is typical, as the majority of cases do just that (between 80 to 92%). Earlier this month Brown, the 92-year-old woman from Rancho Mirage, California, and her attorney, William Shernoff, reached an undisclosed settlement outside of court stemming from a civil lawsuit filed last year. According to The Desert Sun, Brown was persuaded to invest $161,000 cash for annuity now determined she was unqualified to purchase in the first place.

“It?s amazing that a lawsuit brought by a 92-year-old could be instrumental in stopping a scam on seniors throughout California,? Shernoff said in a statement. “You can make a difference at any age.”

Allegedly, a Palm Desert insurance agent by the name of Mike Read came to her at the Mirage Inn retirement home last year and identified himself as a volunteer for U.S. Senior Vets. The non-profit organization is primarily concerned with educating veterans and their spouses on the benefits they’re entitled to.

Under this false-pretense Brown says Read convinced her to buy the annuities. They were not immediate annuities that generally start making payments within 30 days, rather stored away and dispersed in small amounts to be claimed later on (Read probably hopes she would die before anyone was th wiser).

Brown claims she thought she was just signing up for a Veterans Affairs (VA) program and as it turns out she should not have been allowed to buy the annuities in the first place because of her financially well off status meaning she probably pays the maximum 35% income tax rate, but Read collected commission anyways for selling an annuity settlement.

“The reason they wouldn’t go after people who are qualified is because people who are qualified have no money,” said Shernoff.

Read maintained his innocence even after agreeing the the settlement.

“I think it was the right decision to settle rather than go to trial, because that would have been weary on the parties,” said Linda Streeter, Reads lawyer.

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