ROCHESTER — A former Genesee County resident pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to defrauding insurance companies and investors, including friends, out of more than $1 million.
Brian Bartz, 39, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, charges that carry a mandatory minimum term of two years in federal prison and a maximum of 22 years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan McGuire said that Bartz was working at several life insurance companies from 2015 to 2020. He submitted about 105 fraudulent policy applications under people’s names, without their consent.
Bartz used their Social Security numbers and dates of births on the forms, McGuire said.
Bartz was paid a total of $382,740.63 in commissions and bonuses as a result. He also withdrew $70,579.83 from various bank accounts of clients to pay policy premiums on the fraudulent life insurance policies.
Bartz defrauded his insurance clients and potential clients by falsely claiming to also be an investment advisor, persuading individuals to invest funds that he never invested nor intended to invest. Rather than investing such funds on behalf of his clients, Bartz used the money for himself, by gambling or paying back prior investors.
To prevent victims from inquiring about their investments, Bartz issued fake account statements. The victims included a widow who “invested” a $332,500 payout from her deceased husband’s life insurance policy with the defendant. Bratz stole all but $10,000 of that widow’s investment.
Bartz grew up in Genesee County, living in Alexander, Bergen and in Pike, Wyoming County.
In a Daily News article in July, it was revealed that many of Bartz’s investors live in Genesee County.
One couple told The Daily News that Bartz stole about $18,000 from them.
In total, the loss amount for Bartz’s schemes is approximately $1,026,668.46.
He is scheduled to be sentenced July 19.