DAYTON - Former Dayton-area insurance agent and investment adviser John Gregory Schmidt was sentenced today in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas to serve five years in prison. A joint investigation conducted by the Ohio Department of Insurance and the Ohio Department of Commerce revealed Schmidt had been operating a “Ponzi” scheme for more than a decade and defrauded elderly consumers.
“Mr. Schmidt took advantage of his clients’ trust and broke the law,” said Jillian Froment, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Today’s sentencing ensures that Mr. Schmidt will be held accountable for his actions. I appreciate the support of the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office as we worked to put this case together on behalf of the consumers who were harmed.”
The Ohio Department of Insurance revoked Schmidt’s Ohio insurance license for insurance law violations in June 2018. In December 2018, Schmidt, of Bellbrook, was indicted on 124 counts of forgery, two counts of theft from an elderly or disabled adult, one count of telecommunications fraud, and one count of fraud or deceit by an investment adviser. Evidence showed he stole nearly $1 million from client accounts and generated fraudulent account statements to conceal his scheme. In April 2019, Schmidt was found guilty of the charges brought against him.
“The conviction and sentence in this case is due to the partnership and teamwork among the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities, the Ohio Department of Insurance, and the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Sheryl Maxfield, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce. “The elderly are especially vulnerable to schemes such as the one perpetrated by Mr. Schmidt, and we encourage Ohio investors to call our Investor Protection Hotline at 1-877-683-7841 before they invest their money with anyone.”
While operating Schmidt Investment Strategies Group, Schmidt withdrew money from client accounts and annuities without their knowledge or consent. To conceal his activities from clients, Schmidt generated fraudulent financial statements, intentionally misrepresenting their account balances. When clients sought to withdraw funds they no longer had, Schmidt would steal money from other individuals’ accounts.
State of Ohio officials urge all consumers to actively monitor their financial accounts by regularly reviewing account statements and to report questionable or unauthorized transactions to the authorities. If consumers suspect insurance fraud, they should contact the Department of Insurance’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-686-1527. If consumers have concerns regarding investments, they should contact the Department of Commerce’s Investor Protection Hotline at 1-877-683-7841.