California Hairstylist And Actress Plead Guilty
Anthony Flores, a hairstylist also known as Anton David, confessed to defrauding Dr. Mark Sawusch with the assistance of Anna Rene Moore, a 40-year-old actress and yoga studio owner who was his girlfriend at the time of the crimes. In accordance with the plea agreement, Flores acknowledged his involvement in two counts each of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. Additionally, he admitted to one count each for “engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity,” mail fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.
It is worth noting that Flores made these admissions nearly two months after Moore pleaded guilty on August 28th to seven felonies related to the same charges (excluding two wire fraud counts).
Defrauding And Drugging Mentally Ill Eye Doctor Out Of Millions
According to the information provided, Flores and Moore encountered Dr. Sawusch during the summer of 2017. Dr. Sawusch is described as a wealthy ophthalmologist and investor who has a history of mental illness and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Taking advantage of this “chance” meeting, the admitted felons quickly exploited the vulnerable state of Dr. Sawusch by fraudulently residing in his Malibu beach house without paying rent. They even presented themselves as caregivers while witnessing the doctor’s declining mental condition.
“Defendants first met the victim by chance, at a Los Angeles-area ice cream shop on June 23, 2017. Defendants were visiting Los Angeles from Fresno at the time. After their initial encounter, defendants began staying with the victim at the victim’s beachfront home in Malibu, California (the ‘Beach House’),” the plea agreement said.
“Within weeks of defendants first meeting him, the victim was arrested and hospitalized after he engaged in erratic and manic behavior in early July 2017. Defendants visited the victim in the hospital and assisted with his discharge from the hospital in July 2017. Defendants continued to live with the victim until around July 20, 2017, when the victim evicted defendants from the Beach House during a manic episode. Afterward, defendants returned to Fresno.”
After the doctor was arrested the defendants got him to sign over his powers of attorney and let them manage his finances.
After the physician was apprehended “on three separate occasions for bizarre behaviour,” the accused individuals convinced him to relinquish his powers of attorney and authorize them to oversee his financial affairs.
“Defendant Flores told the victim on the recorded jail calls that it would be a ‘very limited’ power of attorney and only used to manage the victim’s affairs while he was in custody and then post bail,” the court documents said. “Defendant Flores told the victim that he was ‘welcome’ to ‘get rid’ of it as soon as the victim was released from custody.”
According To The U.S. Department Of Justice, It Was All A Lie.
The defendants enriched themselves by over $2.7 million while ensuring the victim’s use of LSD, marijuana, and mushrooms after the doctor initiated a series of extensive ketamine infusion treatments to treat his depression.
“From September 2017 to May 2018, Flores and Moore lived with the victim, diverted the victim’s funds to their own bank accounts, isolated the victim from his family and longtime friends, and provided the victim with drugs, including marijuana and LSD,” the DOJ said. “In the final days of the victim’s life in May 2018, Flores and Moore gave the victim LSD, which caused his mental state to severely deteriorate. While the victim was under the influence of LSD, Flores caused the two-step authentication feature on the victim’s $60-million online brokerage account to be changed after previously having changed the phone number listed on the account from the victim’s phone number to his own phone number.”
Sawusch passed away at his Malibu residence at 57 years old in May 2018, yet Flores and Moore persisted with their financial criminal activities. Federal authorities stated that the fraudsters pursued an additional $20 million from the victim’s wealth, starting right after the doctor’s demise. Excerpt from the plea agreement:
“The day after the victim’s death, defendant Flores had a private phone call with his mother, during which they discussed what should be said about the victim’s death and how to leverage the situation. Defendant Flores took notes during this call, and he texted defendant Moore the following notes from the call,
“Good friend under difficult circumstances . . . We bonded and he trusted me . . . With a promise that I be promised a monetary amount he said take care of the house and I want to you 20million.”
Defendant Flores conference-called defendant Moore and his mother. Defendant Flores’s mother expressed concern over defendant Flores being criminally responsible for the victim’s death. She requested defendant Moore’s help in ensuring that defendant Flores would not be held accountable for the victim’s death.
During the summer of 2018, Sawusch’s family discovered the extensive fraud when they realized Flores and Moore were residing in the Malibu beach house. Remarkably, Sawusch’s family had no knowledge of his wealth, which Flores exploited.
“Defendants continued to live at the Beach House for several weeks following the victim’s death until the victim’s family threatened legal action if defendants refused to leave,” the plea agreement said. “Around late June and July 2018, the victim’s family learned of the transfers made to defendant Flores’s accounts immediately before and after the victim’s death. Before that time, the victim’s family had no knowledge of the victim’s true wealth.”
The civil lawsuits filed in California courts exposed the depths of deceit, as Flores submitted false creditor’s claims against Sawusch’s estate. These claims, in which Moore was complicit, alleged that Flores had authority through power of attorney, engaged in fraudulent business transactions, and made false pledges that granted him entitlement to the disputed millions.
The lies culminated with the false claim that Sawusch, in a throwaway remark on Christmas Day in 2017, promised Flores and Moore one-third of his estate and the Malibu beach house. The scenario, as recounted in court documents:
After Flores and Moore’s scheme came crashing down over the course of the litigation, the former couple withdrew the fake creditor’s claims against the estate as part of a settlement. In early 2023, the defendants were greeted with grand jury indictments.
Both defendants are on track for sentencing in early 2024. While Moore’s hearing is set for Jan. 22, Flores’ hearing is expected to take place on Feb. 26.