HELENA, MT – Richard Brandt of Miles City was sentenced yesterday to 60 years behind bars with 20 years suspended. He must also pay more than $1.9 million in restitution for running a Ponzi scheme with 18 victims. Brandt is 62 years old.
“This is the longest sentence the State Auditor’s office has ever gotten in a case we’ve prosecuted,” Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale said.
Brandt was convicted in March on six counts of elder exploitation, operating a Ponzi scheme, theft by embezzlement, securities fraud, failure to register as a securities salesperson, and failure to register a security in the Montana Sixteenth Judicial Court in Custer County.
The Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance prosecuted Brandt in a joint effort with Custer County attorney Wyatt Glade. Brandt had deceived elderly Montanans into investing in his “house flipping” company. Eighteen people invested more than $1.9 million with Brandt and most lost their entire life savings.
“Every investor was elderly, mentally impaired, or otherwise vulnerable to exploitation,” Rosendale said. “Every victim was a personal friend or acquaintance of Brandt. It’s incredibly important that Montanans be very careful when they invest, even if it’s with someone they know and trust.”
Kris Hansen, chief legal counsel for the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, hailed the work of the State Auditor’s attorneys and securities staff.
“Our legal and securities team did fantastic work on this case to make sure that justice was served,” Hansen said. “We’re here to protect Montanans from bad actors and we’re happy to have put an end to this scam.”
The case began with Adult Protective Services in Miles City filing a securities inquiry with the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance after Brandt had stolen about $90,000 from a 100-year-old woman’s bank account.
Montanans who suspect securities fraud are encouraged to contact the Commissioner’s office at (800) 332-6148 or csimt.gov/your-investments/report-fraud