PAW PAW, MI – A former Paw Paw
Brian Lietzau, 60-years-old, pleaded no contest to one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult, $50,000 or more but less than $100,000. 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 also will surrender his license to practice insurance. He had been an agent with Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan.
Brian Lietzau is the former owner of Farm Bureau-Lietzau Insurance and allegedly stole $270,000 from one of his clients who suffered from Alzheimer’s Dementia starting in 2012 after obtaining the title of Durable Power of Attorney. Lietzau allegedly wrote checks to himself from the client’s account as well as allegedly converted her funds to be his own. Lietzau was not a beneficiary on any of his client’s accounts.
He was charged in April 2018 with seven felonies, including conducting and continuing criminal enterprise, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, along with other embezzlement charges.
“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
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 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,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “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 a maximum of 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, 2021.