SAINT PAUL – A Sauk Rapids woman is facing 15 felony charges for defrauding nine victims with transactions involving insurance annuities and gold investments, according to the Minnesota Commerce Department.
Lisa Marie Schurhammer, age 59, is charged in Benton County with six counts of securities fraud, three counts of insurance fraud, three counts of theft by swindle, two counts of theft and one count of temporary theft.
The criminal case was investigated by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau. The Commerce Department’s Enforcement Division also conducted a civil investigation that resulted in the revocation of Schurhammer’s insurance producer license.
According to seven criminal complaints filed this month by the Benton County Attorney’s Office, Schurhammer was a licensed insurance producer who operated a financial planning business in Sauk Rapids called Retirement America, LLC. Her criminal schemes took two forms that victimized her clients, involving either fraudulent insurance transactions or fraudulent gold bullion transactions.
In some cases, Schurhammer advised victims to cash out their existing insurance annuities and buy new annuities with a different insurance company. Schurhammer received lucrative commissions on these transactions, but the victims had to pay substantial early surrender penalty fees.
Schurhammer did not make the required disclosures to the insurance companies that these were replacement annuities, which would have prevented her from receiving the commissions.
In other cases, Schurhammer advised victims to buy gold products as investments. However, she did not use all of the money she received from the victims to buy these gold products. Instead, she used some of the money for personal expenses, including gambling. In two instances, she also had the victims return gold products to her, falsely claiming they were counterfeit and then selling them without fully reimbursing the victims.
Schurhammer never had the required state registration to solicit, market, buy, sell or deliver bullion coins.
Losses to the victims totaled more than $200,000.
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce