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Former Paw Paw insurance agent pleads no contest in elder abuse embezzlement case

Missing Gavel
Posted at 3:48 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 15:48:52-05

LANSING, Mich. — A former Paw Paw insurance agent has pleaded no contest to embezzling money from an elderly client, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said Friday.

Brian Lietzau, 60, pleaded no contest to one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult, $50,000 or more but less than $100,000, according to a news release.

He appeared Friday in Van Buren County Circuit Court in front of Judge Kathleen M. Brickley.

As part of the plea deal, additional charges filed against Lietzau in 2018 were dropped and he agreed to pay restitution of $70,000 to the estate of the victim, who is now deceased.

Lietzau will also surrender his license to practice insurance.

“We expect and trust our agents to work on our behalf, not exploit our finances for their own personal uses,” Nessel said. “I’m grateful the victim’s estate is guaranteed reimbursement through this plea and I appreciate the professionals at the Department of Insurance and Financial Services for their hard work in serving the people of this state by bringing this matter to my office.”

Between November 2012 and November 2013, Lietzau served as fiduciary and power of attorney for the elderly victim.

During that time, he converted her funds to his own personal use.

DIFS initially investigated this situation and referred the case to the Michigan attorney general’s office.

“The State of Michigan is committed to protecting the elderly from those who would prey on them, and we will aggressively investigate and seek prosecution of these crimes,” DIFS Director Anita Fox said. “We are pleased to partner with the attorney general to bring this case to a close for the benefit of this family. We ask all Michiganders to help us protect our seniors and vulnerable adults by reporting suspected fraud to DIFS online or by calling 877-999-6442.”

Embezzlement from a vulnerable adult of $50,000 or more but less than $100,000 is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or $15,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater.

Lietzau is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on March 15.