The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office arraigned John McTaggart, a 45-year-old former broker for allegedly stealing $140,000 from an 86-year-old San Francisco woman as part of an annuity scam. McTaggert, a former broker helped the woman secure a reverse mortgage and convinced her to invest the money into different annuity accounts, but instead fraudulently deposited the money into his personal account before fleeing to Tennessee.
The defendant allegedly attempted to mask this fraud, by sending monthly checks to the victim, essentially paying her “dividends” from the money he had stolen directly from her.
District Attorney Kamala Harris said Friday that McTaggart “victimized and actually preyed on” the woman because of her vulnerability. According to police investigators, the woman had responded to a mass mailing advertisement from McTaggart.
Harris said scammers will target seniors with financial assets, and who, out of misplaced trust and sometimes loneliness, will take them into their confidence.
After helping a victim obtain a reverse mortgage, the scammers say, “Now that you’ve got this cash, let me help you invest it,” Harris said.
The DA and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting earlier this week announced a public education campaign aimed at teaching residents about finance and how to avoid fraud and scams. The campaign will provide information at churches, community centers and senior centers.
He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted, plus a $10,000 fine and restitution to the victim.