Sauk Rapids Woman Accused of Defrauding Clients
FOLEY -- A Sauk Rapids woman is accused of defrauding nine victims out of more than $200,000 through her financial planning business.
According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, 59-year-old Lisa Schurhammer faces 15 felony counts of defrauding victims involving insurance annuities and gold investments.
Seven criminal complaints filed with the Benton County District Court allege six counts of securities fraud, three counts of insurance fraud, three counts of theft-by-swindle, two counts of theft and one count of temporary theft.
Schurhammer operated Retirement America LLC and the commerce department says her schemes took two forms, either fraudulent insurance transactions or fraudulent gold bullion transactions.
Schurhammer is accused of advising victims to cash out their existing insurance annuities and buy new ones without disclosing it to the insurance companies. It allowed her to collect lucrative commissions she otherwise wouldn't be eligible for while forcing the victims to pay substantial early surrender penalties.
According to the commerce department, in other cases, Schurhammer advised victims to buy gold as investments but would not use all of the money to buy gold. Instead, she allegedly took the money for personal expenses and gambling.
In two instances, Schurhammer is accused of having victims return the gold to her claiming they were counterfeit, and then sell them without fully reimbursing the victims.
The commerce department says Schurhammer's insurance producer license has been revoked.