American Benefits Services / Financial Federated


This company did not buy any life insurance policies until they realized they were under investigation. Prior to that, they claimed to be selling viaticated policies but investors actually were buying luxuries for the principals–real estate, cars, a restaurant, etc. We do have the documents referred to in the list, and will make them available much later on, after the website is complete.

Events (in chronological order)

    • Florida orders ABS to cease and desist(6/30/99)
    • USA v. Gary Pierce(7/7/99)
    • ABS atty served with search warrant (7/29/99)
    • ABS ordered to stop selling (8/17/99)
    • Viatical broker license to be revoked (8/23/99)
    • Missouri serves cease and desist orders on Frederick Brandau of Financial Federated and United Benefits Group
    • Operating in other states with other names
    • Where the Money Went
    • Wolk’s Warning: Financial Federated: fooling investors (7/96) See, The FinFed letter
    • Nabbed at the airport (9/99, updated 11/99)
    • Scam estimated to total $140 million (9/99)
    • ABS Bankruptcy (10/5/99)
    • Class action filed in Federal court against ABS sales agents (3/9/00)
    • Bankruptcy Trustee goes after agents’ commissions (5/00)
    • SEC sues Brandau, Levy, Paine, charging securities violations and fraud (5/9/00)
    • Estate planning attorney sued by widow for advising her to invest with ABS/FinFed
    • The federal trial begins (7/00)
    • Brandau convicted; sentenced to 55 years in prison (8/27/00)
    • Levy on the hot seat for another Ponzi (1/31/01)
    • Raphael “Ray” Levy, owner of ABS, pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit Mail Fraud and conspiracy to commit Money Laundering. (3/21/01)
    • Cheryl Poindexteer sentenced (5/18/01)
    • Bankruptcy trustee begins to distribute liquidated assets July 2001 ($1.4 million available now, at least $8 million in total from the $140 million Ponzi scam). There are two thousand investors, most of them elderly.
    • Texas sales agents Keisling and Bertrand plead guilty. Agreement includes restitution to investors and cooperation with authorities. NOTE: Bertrand’s bankruptcy will not affect court ordered restitution.
    • Florida charges insurance agents, stockbrokers, and financial planners with multiple counts of fraud. Here’s the list of names. (5/01)
    • 6 more convicted, await sentencing in Palm Beach County Jail: Zane Balsam, attorney Garland Hogan, Gary Pierce, Wanda Tirado, Alan Lewis, Juan Arroyo (7/01).
    • Attorney Jeffrey Paine pleads guilty, sentenced to 5 years in prison, ordered to pay restitution (8/01)
    • Texas indicts more agents, principals (9/01)
    • Ivan Burgos sentenced (10/5/01)
    • Funds returned to victim-investors: $11.5 million to date shared by 3,445 investors (12/13/01) NOTE: Total amount swindled estimated to be in excess of $117 million.
    • Raphael “Ray” Levy sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, ordered to pay $117 million restitution to the more than 3,000 victims. Sentence began immediately. (11/30/01)
    • Sharon J. Hutchinson, Texas: guilty 10 counts of selling securities without being registered. Sales agent for CMI Financial, she sold ABS/FinFed “viatical investments.” (12/01)
    • Garland Hogan, attorney, sentenced to 27 years (04/02)
    • Frederick Brandau sues to reduce his 55 year sentence. His lawsuit is financed with taxpayer dollars (06/02)
    • Investor class action suit filed against Florida Dept. of Insurance (09/02)

 NOTE:   These documents are available for purchase. Links will be added after all pages have been restored to the website.