An unlicensed financial adviser was convicted Wednesday of grand theft and other charges in a scheme to defraud an 82-year-old Bradenton woman out of $1 million.
Ronald J. Perrault, 42, was convicted on grand theft and organized scheme to defraud charges associated with them, according to a release from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Perrault faces up to 35 years in prison at his sentencing Dec. 4.
The state Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud found that Perrault, while acting as an unlicensed financial adviser for the woman, defrauded her of $727,000 during the last five years and more than $1 million throughout the course of their relationship, the release said.
The investigation found that the woman initially invested $50,000 in Perrault’s fraudulent business in October 2007, followed by $100,000 in December 2007, according to the release. During the next four years, Perrault convinced her to invest an additional $577,000. She continued to submit to Perrault’s demands until her account was depleted. From 2008 until his arrest in 2011, the victim was Perrault’s only client and an investigation found all funds were transferred to Perrault for personal use.
Atwater’s office reminds residents that if they suspect insurance fraud to call 1-800-378-0445. Tipsters can remain anonymous and the department has awarded almost $342,000 to 50 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.