A Spokane man pleaded guilty to stealing lottery winnings from the widow of former Hermiston Police Chief Andy Anderson.
Scott K. Brett, 55, could face more than four years in federal prison after changing his plea to guilty of wire fraud in a hearing at the Richland federal courthouse. He could be ordered to repay $855,000.
Donna Anderson bought the winning ticket for an $18.2 million jackpot in 2003. At the time, it was the third-largest prize in Oregon Megabucks history.
In 2011, she wanted to take the money she had invested with Merrill Lynch in Kennewick and invest it elsewhere to increase earnings, according to court documents. The former chief, who retired in 2001, died of cancer in 2008.
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A friend of one of the couple’s 10 children and stepchildren recommended that she work with Brett to invest what court documents referred to as her “remaining lottery winnings.”
According to a plea agreement filed in federal court, on Feb. 10 Donna Anderson had $1 million transferred by wire into an escrow account to be used as collateral as part of “a proprietary financial system.”
The $1 million was supposed to double in two weeks, allowing Donna Anderson to remove $1 million and leave her original investment in the escrow account. She was told her money would continue to double every two weeks until it reached $8 million.
41 –51 months estimated prison time required under federal guidelines
Instead, Brett made withdrawals from the escrow account, paying money to people other than Donna Anderson, according to the plea agreement.
A couple of weeks after Donna Anderson put the money into Brett’s investment program, she asked for $130,000 to be returned for another investment deal she and one of her sons wanted to pursue. The money was turned over to the son.
In the middle of March, Donna Anderson and one of her sons asked that the rest of the $1 million be returned. But over the next several months Brett returned less than $16,000 to her, according to court documents.
Brett has agreed to provide the federal government with information about the location of assets and turn over any remaining money to the federal government, according to the plea agreement.
The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to recommend a sentencing range within federal guidelines.
U.S. Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. will determine what sentencing range applies, but the plea agreement estimates a prison term ranging from three years and five months to four years and three months.
Brett has agreed to pay restitution of at least $855,000 to Donna Anderson.
The Spokesman Review reported that Brett previously was the chief executive of a firm called CoreTech that sought government loans for a “green” office park that never materialized in a suburb of Nashville, Tenn.