Two dozen more fraud charges filed against Newport Beach insurance agent

Pictured, from left, is Charles Albert Major, 72, of Irvine and Robert Andrew Lotter, 63, of Newport Beach.
(Courtesy of the Orange County district attorney’s office)

The California Department of Insurance announced Monday that additional charges were filed against a Newport Beach insurance executive alleged to have defrauded more than 40 people.

In November last year, Robert Andrew Lotter, 64, was arrested with his co-defendant, Charles Albert Major, 72, of Irvine.

Court records indicate that Lotter and Major have denied dozens of felony charges against them that include untrue statements or omission in connection with purchase or sale; use of a device, scheme or artifice to defraud; and burglary.

Charges currently date as far back as 2005 and are as recent as 2018.

At the time of their arrest, investigators said more than 20 victims were identified. By Monday, there were 44.

“My department’s continued investigation into this alleged securities fraud has uncovered nearly two dozen new victims in this far-reaching scam, which now includes 44 victims who lost $7 million,” said state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in a statement.

“By allegedly scheming to obtain victims’ private information and push them into high-risk investments, these insurance agents took advantage of their position of trust and fiduciary responsibility.”

Lotter and Major allegedly reached out to clients of Lotter’s insurance agency — R.A. Lotter Insurance Marketing, Inc. — and used a variety of schemes to solicit and fraudulently obtain private financial information in order to identify potential investors for Lotter’s high-risk investments.

They sold clients stock certificates in Lotter’s companies, eAgency, Inc. and Mymobilewatchdog, Inc.

The agency is alleged to have misled several clients to believe that it was authorized or affiliated with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which provides retirement pension advice to state public school educators.

Some clients did not discover that it wasn’t authorized by CalSTRS until they’d invested substantial amounts of money in eAgency, Inc. and Mymobilewatchdog, Inc.

They were told that profits were “just around the corner” and were presented with newspaper articles and televised interviews with Lotter in them to placate concerns and strengthen their confidence, according to investigators.

State officials said both companies were in poor financial status and that clients were not notified when supposedly lucrative partnerships fell through and were led to believe that their investments in Lotter’s companies were still viable.

Arraignment for the additional charges occurred on May 12. Both Lotter and Major are currently out on bail, but are expected to appear in court June 24 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

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