- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Miles City man has been convicted of embezzling $1.9 million from people who invested in his “house flipping” company.

Richard Brandt told investors that he was going to buy, remodel and sell homes in Nebraska and Missouri, but he used the money for his own personal expenses, the state auditor’s office said.

Brandt was convicted March 16 in District Court in Miles City of exploitation of an elderly person, theft by embezzlement, fraudulent practices and operating a pyramid scheme as well as failure to register as a securities salesman and failure to register a security.

The case began when Adult Protective Services in Miles City notified the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance that Brandt had taken about $90,000 from a 100-year-old woman.

Brandt is jailed on a $500,000 cash bond pending sentencing.

In 2015, Brandt agreed to pay just over $2 million in restitution to 16 investors, but the auditor’s office says he hasn’t made any payments.

Some investors have applied to recover losses from the restitution assistance fund within the auditor’s office. About $400,000 has been paid out in the Brandt case, auditor’s office spokesman Kyle Schmauch said. A restitution order will be sought as part of Brandt’s sentencing, Schmauch said.

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