Man gets 60 years for bilking 18 victims out of $2M

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By: Elaine Forman

A 62-year-old Miles City man was sentenced to 60 years in prison with 20 years suspended and ordered to pay $1,987,138 in restitution Monday for embezzling and running a Ponzi scheme involving 18 victims.

Rick Brandt was sentenced on six felony counts by 16th Judicial District Court Judge Michael Hayworth in the Custer County Courthouse.

The charges involved scheming to exploit elderly people, theft by embezzlement, failure to register as a security salesperson, selling unregistered securities, fraudulent practices and operating a pyramid promotional, or Ponzi scheme.

Custer County Special Attorney Brett Olin, who also works in the State Auditor’s Office to prosecute these kinds of crimes, said: “I can tell you that in my time with the state, I haven’t seen anything this egregious.”

Later he elaborated that the crimes stand out from others he’s seen in the level of exploitation, the large sums of money, and the types of people targeted: the disabled, the elderly, the vulnerable.

Read more at the Miles City Star