Miles City man gets 40 years in $2 million Ponzi scheme

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By: Associated Press

An eastern Montana man who was convicted of embezzling $1.9 million from 18 people that he convinced to invest in his “house flipping” business has been sentenced to 40 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution…

“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 in a prepared statement…

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, Rosendale said.

Prosecutors said the woman was being thrown out of a nursing home.

“Every investor was elderly, mentally impaired, or otherwise vulnerable to exploitation,” Rosendale said. “Every victim was a personal friend or acquaintance of Brandt.”…

Brandt listed about $80,000 in assets recoverable to repay victims, said Kyle Schmauch, spokesman for the state auditor and securities commissioner. The commissioner’s office paid about $380,000 to victims from its restitution fund.

The state Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance prosecuted Brandt in a joint effort with Custer County attorney Wyatt Glade.

Rosendale said it’s important that Montanans be very careful when they invest, “even if it’s with someone they know and trust.”

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