A former Ventura insurance agent will remain in prison for embezzlement. The man, Joseph Mele, pleaded no contest to multiple felony counts of embezzlement, financial elder abuse and grand theft.
Mele began serving a 10-year sentence in January 2016 after stealing more than $800,000 from two elderly victims. He operated Mele & Associates Senior Insurance Services. Mele earned the confidence of the victims, then advised them to sell and re-purchase long-term annuities. For the transactions, Mele made thousands of dollars in commissions. He manipulated the transactions to maximize his commissions, but that resulted in more than $650,000 in fees, penalties and interest.
Mele also convinced the victims to sign blank checks to facilitate their investments. Instead, Mele used the money for personal expenses, vacations, gambling, plastic surgery and entertainment. At trial, one of the victim’s expressed concern that she would lose her home as a result of the theft.
The Board of Parole Hearings denied Mele’s first request for parole, saying that he posed an unreasonable risk to the community.
Ventura Embezzlement Lawyer
When you face embezzlement charges, hire an experienced embezzlement lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He fights aggressively for his clients and will work hard for you. His first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. If that’s not possible, he will work hard to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Embezzlement is a crime of opportunity. While the amounts involved can seem staggering, most victims want to be made whole. To do that, a convicted defendant either has to have the resources on hand, or must have the opportunity to work. Long prison sentences can frustrate restitution, which in essence, punishes the victim twice. An experienced defense attorney can work with the prosecutor and judge to ensure a fair sentence, that facilitates the best possible opportunity to make restitution.
Don’t settle for an inexperienced attorney. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County embezzlement case.
Photo Credit: Anthony Albright, via Flickr.com