- Associated Press - Thursday, July 11, 2019

SAN DIEGO (AP) - California authorities say three men have been arrested on charges of bilking military service members out of nearly $5 million.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan said Thursday that Paul Flanagan, Ranjit Kalsi, and Gregory Lee Martin ran a tax fraud and identity theft scheme.

A 69-count indictment says they operated Go Navy Tax Services from a trailer outside Naval Base San Diego, using personal information to open bogus accounts.

Officials say they tricked service members into buying nearly 5,000 unwanted life insurance policies and annuity contracts. They earned more than $2 million in commissions on sales costing service members about $4.8 million.

Attorney Earll Pott, who represents Flanagan, calls the charges “a rather gross overreach.”

He says service members were sold valuable financial instruments.

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