A Santa Barbara man accused of stealing approximately $12 million from victims who thought their money was being used to buy annuities from Swiss insurance companies is facing 11 counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
Darrell Arnold Aviss, 63, was arrested on June 18, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
In an indictment filed against him on Tuesday, Aviss is accused of soliciting money from people who wanted to purchase annuities from insurance companies based in Switzerland, claiming the annuities were safe and secure and could pay interest rates ranging from 5 to 7 percent.
Investigators say Aviss arranged for the victims to receive false statements showing the purported value of the annuities and paid back some of the money to the victims to keep the scheme running.
However, the indictment says Aviss used most of the money to support his lavish lifestyle, including making mortgage payments and paying for luxury car leases, trips to Monaco, and tickets to a U2 concert.
The DOJ says he ran the scheme from at least 2012 through last summer.
Aviss is scheduled to be arraigned on July 9. If convicted, he faces a potential sentence that could equal decades in prison.
Most of the victims in this case were reportedly over the age of 60. The DOJ operates the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 to assist potential victims by providing resources and referrals.