Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Brian J. Smart. Courtesy: Utah County Jail
Utah man accused of bilking elderly Californians
Charges » Brian Smart was also found to have run Ponzi scheme in Utah.
First Published Sep 14 2012 07:26 am • Last Updated Sep 14 2012 05:09 pm

A Utah County man already found to have committed widespread fraud has been arrested on a warrant from California, where he is charged with stealing more than $1 million from elderly clients.

Brian Jared Smart, 36, Lehi, owner of Smart Assets LLC, faces 14 felony charges in Orange County for allegedly convincing five elderly people to trust him with their savings or money from sales of their homes, then stealing the funds.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Marc Labreche, senior deputy Orange County district attorney, said if convicted Smart faces 25 years and 4 months in prison. Barring unusual circumstances, a prison sentence is mandatory because of the number of charges.

"He’s alleged to have bilked multiple victims out of their money by converting their annuities or what they thought were their annuities into his own personal bank account," Labreche said.

Smart was arrested just after midnight on Wednesday and was being held in the Utah County Jail.

D. Ramey Logan of Newport Beach, Calif., alleged Thursday that his mother, Katherine Brown, was Smart’s first elderly victim. In a bankruptcy court document, Brown said she turned over $100,000 in savings to Smart after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the couple became worried about their financial future.

After her husband died, Brown said she gave Smart another $145,000 for what was supposed to be a safe investment. She received some payments, but Logan said he discovered that Smart had forged his mother’s signature and that her funds had gone into his accounts, according to the court document.

"It’s about time," Logan said Thursday of Smart’s arrest. "Justice was served. Mr. Smart’s victims were elderly and have no way to recover from this."

In 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Smart and his company, alleging he told numerous lies to investors, including some who were elderly.

Smart promised annual returns of up to 18 percent but instead of conservative investments, Smart used funds from new investors to make payments to earlier ones in what’s known as a Ponzi scheme, the SEC charged. He also invested in risky real estate deals and used investor funds to purchase a house for himself and pay personal expenses, the SEC alleged.


story continues below
story continues below

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball found that Smart and his company took in more than $2 million from investors through a "systematic program of deception and fraud" and ordered him to repay that amount, imposed a fine of more than $2 million and added on interest.

Smart also has financial ties to Wendell and Allen Jacobson, the father-son owners of Management Solutions Inc. of Fountain Green. The SEC sued the Jacobsons in December alleging they operated their real estate investment company as a Ponzi scheme and lied to investors about how their money would be used.

Smart and the Jacobsons were partners in a Hawaiian real estate venture that is the subject of a lawsuit by some of the same victims named in the California criminal complaint, according to court documents.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.