2/7/2017 2:13:47 PM
For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that a former insurance agent from Minnetrista was sentenced on Monday to 34 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $261,000 in restitution for committing fraud against several clients, including a 79-year-old woman and a couple in their late 70s.
Paul M. Bardine, 55, had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of theft by swindle over $35,000 in Hennepin County District Court.
“Bardine exploited a position of trust to steal from his clients while claiming to offer them an investment opportunity,” said Rothman, whose agency regulates insurance business in the state. “Our criminal investigation against Bardine was the direct result of a concerned individual reaching out to us on behalf of one of the victims. I encourage seniors to closely monitor their finances and talk with family members about any concerns. If they see anything suspicious, they can contact the Commerce Department.”
The case was investigated by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the Commerce Department’s Enforcement Division. It was prosecuted by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
Bardine was an insurance agent in Minnesota whose license became inactive in August 2012.
Beginning in the summer of 2013, he persuaded several of his clients to cash out annuities he had previously sold them. He encouraged them to invest their money with one of his companies, O.B. Investment, offering an annual rate of return ranging from six to 13 percent.
The victims gave personal checks to Bardine with the understanding he would invest their money as promised. Instead, he used their funds for personal expenses and exhausted the money that the victims had entrusted to him.
Commerce is here to help
If you have a question or concern about a possible fraud or scam, contact the Commerce Department Consumer Services Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | email@example.com