This Time, Lochmiller Gets 33 Years

Philip Lochmiller Sr., 64, was sentenced Friday (March 9) to 33 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, for scamming investors in Grand Junction, Colorado. He was convicted of mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. According to the federal government, Lochmiller took in more than $30 million from investors, promising 18% returns on real estate investments. Instead, Lochmiller spent the money on personal and family expenses, says the government. It was a family affair: his son Philip Lochmiller, had pleaded guilty in 2010 and got eight years in custody. It was a re-run, of sorts, of the Lochmiller Mortgage scam in North County in the 1980s. The senior Lochmiller was sentenced in 1985 to three years then, and his mother and brother also got time. In both the Colorado and San Diego cases, senior citizens were victims.

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So the judge actually took his record into account. This is as these things should work. He had his warning when he got a fairly light sentence the first time. He learned something, but it was not to play it straight, so now he loses his freedom. However, will he really serve such a sentence? You didn't mention if this was a state or a federal case, and that could influence the actual time served. But the main thing is how these scammers can find that many people with that much money to invest who are so easily duped. It is as if these "senior citizens" are a huge flock of sheep just milling around out there, waiting for the scammers to come along and shear them. Another way to ask it is, how did so many people get so much wealth who were so dumb?

The Colorado case is a federal one. "Although this sentence can't by itself undo the damage suffered by the many victims of this fraudulent scheme, justice was done," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. This scam seems to be in two generations of that family. Best, Don Bauder

Make that three generations. Best, Don Bauder

However, will he really serve such a sentence? You didn't mention if this was a state or a federal case, and that could influence the actual time served. == Federal case, he will serve 85%. / / But the main thing is how these scammers can find that many people with that much money to invest who are so easily duped. It is as if these "senior citizens" are a huge flock of sheep just milling around out there, waiting for the spammers to come along and shear them. == It is very easy to scam seniors because their minds have slowed and they aren't as sharp as they used to be, just as their bodies age, so do their senses and their mind. This is why it is especially a heinous crime to scam the elderly because they are more at risk (as are children). They are not dumb. They are innocent, easy targets because of their diminished capacity.

I agree that financial elder abuse is one of the most reprehensible scams being perpetrated these days. (And that's not just because I will be 76 this year. I have written about elder abuse for decades.) This type of scam is especially malodorous today, when seniors can get barely any interest in their savings accounts, thanks to a Federal Reserve whose main interest is running up the stock market. Best, Don Bauder

I now qualify as a senior citizen and I'm far less likely to fall for one of these schemes than I ever was. That is a result of many years of seeing how things really work, and how history repeats, thus providing me a long time horizon. So, I like to think I'm less credulous than at any time of my life.

Elder abuse should be treated only less seriously than child abuse in our ranking of wrongs. One point that I've noticed over the years when seniors or other non-sophisticates are victimized is that the scammer was often a person they met at church. "He was a nice young man I met at church" was a typical quote. So, it would appear that these charlatans often join churches as a means of finding easy marks. Quite ironic that the very place where you hope to find moral people who share your values can lead to your downfall and loss of savings. Beware at all times.

Lochmiller ought to have the decency to kill himself after what he's done.

We can't wish that on anybody, Burwell, but Lochmiller will have plenty of time to think about his crimes. Best, Don Bauder

It is as if these "senior citizens" are a huge flock of sheep just milling around out there, waiting for the scammers to come along and shear them. Another way to ask it is, how did so many people get so much wealth who were so dumb?

Many of the elderly are starving because they cannot obtain a decent yield on their certificates of deposit. They are desperate to obtain higher yields so they can eat, heat their homes, and pay for their healthcare. Out of financial desperation they invest their money with scum like Lochmiller. There are plenty like him. There are probably a dozen Lochmillers operating in San Diego right now, perhaps on a lesser scale. DA Bonnie Dumanis does nothing to try to stop these scamsters until the interest checks start to bounce and the scam becomes public. By then it is too late.

Dumbass is without a doubt one of the worst DA's this city has ever seen. Miller is the only one I can say was worse, and that was over only two cases, Wade and Akiki.

I think Ed Miller was an excellent DA whose record was stained by the inept handling of the Dale Akiki case. Best, Don Bauder

Yeah, you have said before you were a Miller fan.

The Akiki case was so misguided, so corrupted, such an abuse of power that it sickens me to this day. It was political, pushed by a fat cat special interest campaign contributor, the essence of cronyism.

Don't forget Akiki won a multi million dollar judgment against Miller and Somner (??) over that-night of whom paid a dime of the costs-all fell on taxpayers.

OK, that Akiki case was badly bungled. Miller was pressured by a local CEO (now retired). But look at all the good Miller did -- getting C. Arnholt Smith, for just one example. Best, Don Bauder

There is an elder abuse section within the DA's office. I used to deal with it fairly frequently, but haven't for some time. I don't know that this means it is less active. Best, Don Bauder

Yeah, we're eating our seed-corn too.

What to do?

Who's "we?" European nations, the U.S., California, and San Diego are all eating their own seed corn. As the song goes, "Everybody's doin' it.." Best, Don Bauder

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