Embezzlement case: Custer County jury finds Brandt guilty of defrauding elderly

A Custer County jury this afternoon returned guilty verdicts on all counts against Richard “Rick” Brandt of Miles City, who was accused of defrauding the elderly.

The 12-person jury deliberated for about an hour, delivering the verdict shortly after 1 p.m. Brandt was taken into custody by the sheriff’s department and placed in the Custer County Jail after the verdict was read.

The jury found Brandt guilty on six felony counts involving close to $2 million he allegedly gained control of from 18 individuals through deceptive means. Most of the victims are elderly.

The four-day district trial took place in the Custer County Courthouse. According to court records, Brandt’s charges, each related to a series of actions done for a common goal, were: 

— Exploitation of an elderly person for exploiting 13 people over the age of 65. 

— Theft by embezzlement to gain control (by deception) over property that multiple people entrusted to him valued at about $1,939,132.

— Failure to register as a security salesperson with the state by offering or selling securities without registering.

—  Failure to register a security with the state by selling unregistered securities.

— Fraudulent practices by engaging in an act, practice or course of business that operated as a fraud or deceit on about 18 people.

— Operating a pyramid promotional scheme (Ponzi scheme) by making payments to investors from money obtained from later investors rather than from money obtained from any profits or other income of an underlying or purposed underlying business venture.

The alleged offenses occurred between January 2011 and June 2015.

(For a full story, see Friday’s Star.)