Insurance agent charged with embezzling from local seniors

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced his Corporate Oversight Division has filed charges against Paul Garceau, 51, of Grosse Pointe, that include embezzlement and conducting a criminal enterprise, for allegedly stealing money from unsuspecting seniors in a Ponzi scheme.

“These charges are a step toward justice for those who trusted Mr. Garceau with managing their money,” said Schuette. “Individuals who take advantage of their relationships and conspire to exploit the elderly for personal financial gain will face the consequences and it should serve as a reminder that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated.”

Garceau, who operated the alleged scheme through his Harrison Township insurance agency, Apex Wealth Management, is now facing the following charges:

• One count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a twenty-year felony.
• One count of Embezzlement by an Agent $100,000 or more, a twenty-year felony.
• Five counts of Embezzlement by an Agent $50,000 or more but less than $100,000, a fifteen-year felony.
• One count of Embezzlement by an Agent of $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, a ten-year felony.

Garceau was arraigned late afternoon on Friday, May 19, before Magistrate Daniel Goulette. Bond was set at $50,000 10% cash surety. His next court appearance will be May 31 in front of Judge Linda Davis.
“Garceau’s actions were illegal and unacceptable,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin.

“The staff of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, together with the Department of Attorney General, did an outstanding job of uncovering these schemes that were targeting the elderly.”

Garceau had his Michigan insurance producer license revoked on February 16, 2016 by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services; Garceau’s company, Apex, also had its license revoked on that day.

The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) referred the case to Corporate Oversight in July of 2016.

An investigation began in October 2014, when Michigan State Police responded to an embezzlement and forgery complaint. A subsequent investigation by DIFS allegedly yielded more evidence of Garceau’s scheme. The charges were brought in Macomb County.

It is alleged that between January 2008 and January 2015, Garceau embezzled $800,918 of his clients’ funds without their knowledge or consent, many of whom were elderly. The 12 alleged victims live in Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties.

Garceau allegedly convinced his victims to withdraw funds from legitimate investments, stating he would reinvest their funds in more lucrative opportunities with higher returns. Instead, Garceau allegedly deposited the funds into his company’s account, spending the money on himself or to further his alleged Ponzi scheme.