The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announced that James Harold Hosner was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a promissory note scheme targeting an elderly victim. In February, Hosner was found guilty of securities fraud, selling unregistered securities, selling securities as an unregistered person, and communications fraud (scheme to defraud) by a Pinellas County jury.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Orchestrating a fraud scheme to take advantage of Floridians is despicable and it’s especially heinous when it’s our seniors who fall victim. These individuals worked their entire lives to build a nest egg and unfortunately scam artists like this will do anything to steal their hard-earned money. I thank Commissioner Weigel and my Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services for their hard work in uncovering this scheme and bringing this fraudster to justice.”
OFR Commissioner Russell C. Weigel, III, said, “I thank OFR’s outstanding investigative team for their work on this case. We continue to be committed to protecting Floridians and their financial interests – and helping put criminals behind bars. I appreciate the diligent work of the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office in securing this positive outcome for the people of Florida.”
Hosner operated the investment scheme through his company, Phoenix Insurance Services, Inc., based in St. Petersburg. Exploiting his existing relationship as the victim’s insurance agent to pitch the phony promissory notes, he issued and sold at least three notes totaling approximately $48,500 to the elderly victim. The securities were purportedly 7% fixed notes due in 2020; however, Hosner assured the victim that the money could be returned at any time upon request. As part of the scheme, he lied about plans to purchase another insurance agency and used portions of the victim’s funds to pay insurance premiums and cover payroll. The OFR’s investigation was opened in May 2018 as a result of a referral from the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation provides regulatory oversight for Florida’s financial services providers. Our mission is to protect Floridians, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace, and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services industry.