Fraud Against Elderly Women Nets 40-Year Sentence

Sep 19

Robert Joseph Mangiafico Jr., who stole more than half-a-million dollars from elderly women he convinced to buy annuities that never existed, was sentenced to 40 years in state prison on Sept. 18 after pleading guilty to charges of theft and money laundering.

Judge Benjamin Smith of the 380th state District Court in Collin County sentenced Mangiafico to 40 years on each charge after two-and-a-half days of testimony in a punishment hearing. The sentences will run concurrently.

Mangiafico was prosecuted in cooperation with the Collin County District Attorney’s Office. State Securities Board enforcement attorneys Dale Barron, Alexis Goldate, and Tina Lawrence were appointed as special prosecutors in Collin County; Barron was the lead prosecutor.

Mangiafico defrauded several elderly widows by convincing them to liquidate securities, holdings in brokerage accounts, or other assets, and transfer the funds to him or a Frisco company, Security Financial Services LLC (SFS), which was formed by Thomas Earl Grimshaw.

Mangiafico told the women he would buy annuities from legitimate insurance companies. Instead of purchasing the annuities, Mangiafico deposited the women’s money into bank accounts held in his name, Grimshaw’s, and SFS. Mangiafico used the victims’ money to pay his personal expenses and to continue perpetrating the fraud.

The 2011 indictment of Mangiafico names just four of his victims, from whom he stole a total of $458,361, but the total amount stolen from his victims was approximately $655,000.

A Collin County grand jury indicted Grimshaw in 2011 on charges of theft, money laundering, and engaging in organized criminal activity. The case is pending. The Texas Department of Insurance in 2009 cancelled Grimshaw’s license to sell insurance on the grounds he engaged in fraudulent practices and misappropriated money belonging to an insured or insurer.

Even before launching the fraud, Mangiafico had a lengthy criminal and civil record, including at least four theft convictions, driving while intoxicated, and a charge related to intentionally providing two police officers with a false address and date of birth.

Mangiafico has also never been licensed by the Texas Department of Insurance to sell annuities.

Mangiafico’s sentencing is the latest in a string of cases in recent months that the State Securities Board has prosecuted or investigated in cooperation with federal and state prosecutors. The cases include:

  • A 25-year state sentence for a Central Texas man who stole money from an elderly woman he convinced to invest in non-existent oil and gas wells;
  • 10-year state sentences for two men who orchestrated a Houston-based $30 million fraud in life settlements;
  • An 80-year federal sentence for a woman who sold fictitious European notes on behalf of a Plano wealth management firm;
  • A 19-year federal sentence for the founder of a Baytown oil-and-gas exploration company that was a Ponzi scheme;
  • And multiple federal sentences, including one of 16 years, involving a Dallas company’s sale of fraudulent debt obligations.