A St. Paul insurance salesman was accused Tuesday of scamming two older men, including a retired St. Paul police officer, by selling them unsuitable investments he was not licensed to sell.
The civil action by the Minnesota Department of Commerce could result in an $80,000 fine and the loss of the insurance license for James Ronald Redden, who has an office in Hugo.
"Establishing phone friendships with impressionable seniors is exactly how many unscrupulous fraudsters get their foot in the door," Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said. His department recently began a program to help physicians spot signs of financial abuse in older patients.
Redden could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
He is accused of taking $50,000 from retired officer Lloyd Abraham, first by borrowing $10,000 in 2009 to invest and then taking $40,000 in proceeds from the sale of Abraham's mobile home when he moved to an assisted living facility. Abraham died a few months later at age 85. Relatives who sought repayment were sent two checks for $10,000 that bounced, and they were told that cashing in the $40,000 investment would result in a 50 percent surrender fee.
The other alleged victim was Norman Anderson, now 88, who bought annuities through Redden in 2005 that included a 10 percent surrender fee if cashed within 10 years. Anderson got that money back after the Minnesota attorney general sued. Anderson also lent Redden $21,500 to invest. Some was returned after Anderson sued Redden in 2009.
Warren Wolfe • 612-673-7253