An ill California doctor entrusted 'new friends' with his finances. They stole millions, feds say.
A California actress and a hairstylist pretended to be the caregivers of a doctor they befriended in a scheme to take control of his finances and steal millions, federal prosecutors said last week.
In an indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, prosecutors said the pair moved into the wealthy physician’s beach house in Malibu, California, where they ostensibly cared for him as his mental illness worsened. The doctor, unnamed in the indictment, was drugged by the pair at several points to hide their activities from him, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors charged Anna Rene Moore, 39, an actress, and Anthony David Flores, 46, who goes by Anton David, a licensed hairstylist, with 12 counts of fraud, identity theft and money laundering.
Prosecutors said Flores and Moore stole more than $2.7 million from the victim and tried to bag an additional $20 million from his estate after his death.
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Victim was former doctor, investor
The victim was an ophthalmologist who specialized in eye medicine and a private investor who had brokerage accounts valued at more than $60 million, according to the indictment.
A mental illness landed him in the hospital eight times between 2015 and 2017, and he was left unable to look after himself before his death in May 2018 in his Malibu home, prosecutors said. He was 57.
The late physician had only two living family members: an elderly mother and a sister who both lived in Florida, according to the indictment.
The victim's family filed a lawsuit against the pair, prosecutors said in a news release. Flores and Moore agreed to repay $1 million to the victim's estate as part of a settlement but have so far failed to do so.
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Indictment reveals how 'new friends' eventually stole millions
Moore and Flores befriended the victim at a Venice, California, ice cream shop in June 2017, according to the indictment. Days later, the duo sent the victim a text signed "your new friends: Anton & Anna" and offered him assistance.
"Our desire is to add ease and flow to your life and be of great service," the text read.
By the end of June, they had moved in with the victim at his Malibu beach house, according to the indictment.
After a hospitalization and a mental breakdown that landed the victim in jail, Flores persuaded the doctor in September 2017 to give him a limited power of attorney so he could bail the victim out of jail, according to the indictment.
He told the victim he would relinquish the power of attorney after the victim was freed, the indictment said. The victim agreed.
But Flores went back on his word, kept his power of attorney and persuaded the victim to expand it, according to the indictment. Eventually, Flores gained access to the doctor’s banking and investment accounts.
For several months in late 2017 and early 2018, Flores and Moore diverted money from the victim’s accounts into their own, prosecutors said. They even fought off attempts by the doctor’s mother to take conservatorship of her ill son, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said Flores and Moore arranged for the doctor to have ketamine infusions at a clinic in an effort to keep him subdued and unaware of how much control they had seized over his finances.
In the weeks leading up to the doctor's death in May 2018, the pair allegedly gave the doctor LSD, a hallucinogenic drug, and marijuana to keep him sedated. They also changed the password and registered number on an investment portfolio, according to the indictment.
The doctor eventually evicted Flores and Moore from his home in May as his mental health deteriorated, according to the indictment. The duo, using the doctor’s money, stayed at a nearby luxury hotel and monitored the doctor via a surveillance camera system installed in his home, according to the indictment.
On May 29, 2018, Flores texted an acquaintance that the doctor had died in his sleep. He and Moore moved back into the Malibu beach house and continued to drain hundreds of thousands of dollars from the victims’ accounts after siphoning more than $1 million earlier that month, according to the indictment.
They held a memorial service in the victim’s home in June without inviting his family, according to the indictment.
Flores and Moore face more than 50 years
Flores and Moore each face 20 years in prison for the fraud charges, 30 years on the money-laundering-related charges and two years on the identity theft charges, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said in a new release that both were charged with the following counts:
One count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud
One count of aggravated identity theft
Two counts of wire fraud
Two counts of mail fraud
One count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering
Two counts of money laundering
One count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property
Flores pleaded not guilty to all counts, prosecutors said. It was unclear whether Moore had entered a plea Sunday. A lawyer was not listed for either defendant in a federal court database Sunday.
A detention hearing for Flores was scheduled for Feb. 10, and both defendants were expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles in the coming weeks, prosecutors said.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California doctor scammed out of millions in caregiver scheme: Feds