A Spokane man pleaded innocent to wire fraud after being accused of persuading the widow of a former Hermiston police chief to give him $1 million in lottery winnings for a short-term investment with a big payoff.
The widow of former Hermiston Police Chief Andy Anderson has been trying for five years to get most of her money back, according to federal court documents.
Donna Anderson bought the winning ticket for the $18.2 million jackpot, then the third-largest prize in Oregon Megabucks history, in 2003.
In 2011, she wanted to take 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 Scott K. Brett of Spokane to invest what court documents referred to as her “remaining lottery winnings.”
$1 million initial investment
$8 million expected earnings
$145,000 amount returned
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.
In a conference call during the first week of February 2011, Brett told her and one of her sons that she could put money in an escrow account that would be used to leverage other investments, according to court documents.
He sent an agreement that said under the “system,” a $1 million investment would grow to $2 million within two weeks. Then she could remove $1 million and would no longer have money at risk.
The investment would continue to double over two week periods to reach $8 million, at which time the system would close. The agreement also said that if the first implementation of the system was not completed within 30 days, Brett would return her $1 million, according to court documents.
Anderson withdrew $1 million from Merrill Lynch in Kennewick and transferred it by wire to a Utah bank account in February 2011. Money was withdrawn from the account and given to various people and to bank accounts held by Brett, rather than invested for Donna Anderson’s benefit, according to court documents.
If found guilty of wire fraud, Scott K. Brett of Spokane could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
At the end of the month, Donna Anderson and her son wanted to invest in another deal and asked for $130,000 back, which Brett sent.
Shortly after that, she asked for all of her money back. She received $10,000 on June 27 and $5,000 on July 21, plus other payments of less than $1,000.
Brett continued to give her false hope that she would get the remaining $855,000 returned, according to court documents.
If found guilty of wire fraud, Brett could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. His attorney, Roger Peven of Spokane, declined to comment on the case.
The Andersons said in 2003 that they did not expect much in their lives to change when they won the lottery.
They test drove a used Cadillac Escalade and said they could stop penny-pinching to send their 17-year-old twins to college.
Andy Anderson, who was then driving trucks part time, said he planned to keep working. Donna Anderson said she also would keep attending Blue Mountain Community College to earn her special-education degree.