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Former licensed insurance agent Brett E. Lovett, 53, of Camarillo was sentenced to 16 years and eight months in jail after being found guilty, after a 9 week jury trial, of 29 felony counts including grand theft, elder abuse, money laundering, and burglary.

Translated into real time, that comes to about four years, according to Casey Nelson, who prosecuted the case and argued Lovett should get 28 years. The probation report – citing the utter financial ruin Lovett visited upon his elderly victims – many of whom he met through Carpinteria’s Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses – argued for 26 years. Ultimately, the judge imposed a lighter sentence, citing Lovett’s lack of prior criminal charges.

A 15-month California Department of Insurance investigation found he defrauded at least nine victims, including senior citizens, of close to $1.2 million.

Lovett was arrested in October 2017 after the Department’s investigation revealed that between 2011 and 2016, he defrauded at least nine victims. Several of his victims were senior citizens whom he met and befriended at a place of worship in Carpinteria. Other victims sought legal advice from Lovett through his legal aid information business.

Victims entrusted Lovett with their money for proposed investments that never existed, or for financial management purposes. Lovett then misappropriated the money for his own personal use and to repay some of his victims — sometimes using his Power of Attorney and Promissory Notes to embezzle funds from victims.

Lovett has a history of embezzling money from members of the places of worship he attends.

In 2007, doing business as Northwest Asset Fund, he was ordered to pay more than $675,900 in restitution, fines and sanctions by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Lovett never paid the fines or restitution.

The CFTC entered a permanent injunction against Lovett, who never registered with the CFTC. Between October 2002 and August 2005, Lovett fraudulently solicited money from individuals, purportedly to trade commodity futures, through false promises of high returns from a low-risk investment.

Lovett’s license to transact insurance expired in May 2000. He was not acting as an insurance agent during this time, but he was giving financial advice which he was not licensed to give.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case