LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced the Elder Financial Crimes Unit has filed criminal charges against Brian Lietzau, an insurance agent based out of Paw Paw.
The 57-year-old insurance agent faces seven felonies stemming from allegedly taking advantage of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's dementia. He is accused of abusing his position when given Power of Attorney.
Power of Attorney gives broad powers to a person or organization to act on your behalf. It is often included in an estate plan to make sure a person or organization can handle your financial matters, which Lietzau is accused of not doing.
Lietzau allegedly stole $270,000 from the victim's estate beginning in 2012 when he was the owner of Farm Bureau-Lietzau Insurance. He allegedly wrote checks to himself from the victim's account.
Several of the alleged transfers happened while the victim was in the hospital after she died.
This was originally investigated by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, but was then referred to the Department of Attorney General for prosecution.
"When a person is appointed to act as Power of Attorney, they make a promise to protect the assets of the person they are assisting, not steal their life's savings," Schuette said in a press release. "My office will continue to make crimes against the elderly and infirm a priority for prosecution. I would like to thank the Department of Insurance and Financial Services for their hard work and cooperation in this joint investigation."
Lietzau's charges include:
- Conducting a continuing criminal enterprise (felony of 20 years in prison and/or $100,000)
- Embezzlement from a vulnerable adult over $100,000 (felony of 20 years in prison and/or $50,000, or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater)
- Two counts of embezzlement by agent over $1,000 (felony of five years in prison and/or $10,000, or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater)
- Three counts of using a computer to commit a crime (felony of seven years in prison and/or $5,000)