A Miles City man was been convicted on six counts of theft by embezzlement and other charges after scamming 18 people, including a 100 year-old woman, out of $1.9 million.

Kyle Schmauch, Public Information Officer for the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, said on Friday that Richard Brandt was sentenced in Custer County Judicial Court.

"Brandt was committing fraud by scamming mostly elderly people out of their money, in most cases their entire life savings, including 18 people and a total of over $19 million," said Schmauch. "He was getting them to invest in a house-flipping real estate scheme."

Schmauch detailed the charges against Brandt.

"The charges included exploitation of an elderly person, theft by embezzlement, failure to register as a securities salesperson, failure to register a security, fraudulent practices, and operating a pyramid promotion scheme, also known as a Ponzi Scheme," he said. "He is currently being held on a $50,000 bond, and the sentencing could include up to 70 years in jail and significant fines."

Schmauch described how Brandt was found and captured.

"Adult Protective Services filed a securities inquiry with our office after Brandt had stolen over $70,000 from a 100 year-old woman's bank account," he said. "They contacted our office and then our legal team worked with the Custer County Attorney, and that resulted in the conviction yesterday."

Montanans who suspect securities fraud are encouraged to contact the Commissioner’s office at (800) 332-6148 or visit this website.

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