A California insurance agent has been arrested and charged with ripping off five senior citizens in a $2 million scam. John Paul Slawinski, 59, was arrested at his home in Palm Desert and is being arraigned today.
Slawinski is charged with five felony counts of financial elder abuse and five counts of burglary for allegedly ripping off five senior citizens for more than $2 million through the sale and surrender of investment annuity products.
The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving complaints. Investigators allege that Slawinski, a licensed insurance agent, convinced some victims to surrender annuities and investment products with the promise of higher returns through new investments and conned other victims into giving him money to invest for them.
Slawinski did not purchase annuities or investment products, nor did he refund the victims’ money.
“I find it particularly appalling when people in the position of trust violate that trust and take advantage of vulnerable senior citizens,” said Commissioner Dave Jones. “Consumers should be able to trust their agent when making important insurance decisions. Consumers often rely on the advice of their agent when they are taken advantage of the result is often devastating.”
Slawinski concealed his theft by providing the victims with fraudulent financial statements, and by issuing minimum investment payments to lead them to believe their insurance investment and life savings were secure, investigator said.
The Department of Insurance is looking for additional victims in this case and encourages anyone that may have done business with Slawinski and/or JPS Insurance Services to contact the Rancho Cucamonga Regional Office at (909) 919-2200.