Former Insurance Agent Sentenced in Elder Abuse Embezzlement Case
This release was issued through the Attorney General's office.
Media Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney, 517-512-9342
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 16, 2021
LANSING - A former Paw Paw insurance agent has been sentenced to 36 months' probation - with six months under house arrest - and ordered to pay restitution for embezzling between $50,000 and $100,000 from an elderly client, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced today.
Brian Lietzau, 60, appeared Monday before Judge Kathleen M. Brickley in Van Buren County Circuit Court. His sentencing follows a plea deal he entered in February in which he pleaded no contest to one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult, $50,000 or more but less than $100,000.
Judge Brickley sentenced Lietzau to 36 months' probation. Lietzau is also responsible for paying restitution of about $70,000 to the estate of the victim, who is now deceased. Lietzau has also surrendered his license to practice insurance.
DIFS initially investigated Lietzau's actions and referred the case to the Attorney General's office.
"We have a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable in our state and to hold the bad actors who seek to take advantage of them accountable," said Attorney General Nessel. "I am grateful to the hardworking professionals at the Department of Insurance and Financial Services for their continued collaboration on these cases."
"We are proud to work closely with the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute criminals who take advantage of Michigan's senior citizens," said DIFS Director Anita Fox. "Protecting our seniors and vulnerable adults from predators like Mr. Lietzau is a top priority for the Department. Michiganders can help by reporting suspected fraud to DIFS online or by calling 877-999-6442."
Lietzau is the former owner of Farm Bureau-Lietzau Insurance. Between November 2012 and November 2013, he served as fiduciary and power of attorney for the elderly victim. During that time, he converted her funds to his own personal use. These transfers occurred both while the victim was in the hospital and after she had passed away.
For more information about detecting and preventing elder abuse, visit the Attorney General's Elder Abuse Task Force website.
The DIFS Fraud Investigation Unit investigates criminal and fraudulent activity related to the insurance and financial markets and works with the Attorney General and law enforcement to prosecute these crimes. Suspected insurance and financial services fraud can be reported to DIFS safely, easily and, in most cases, anonymously by calling 877-999-6442 or online by visiting the department's website.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit the DIFS website or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.