‘Dreams stolen’; financial advisor gets prison for $1 million embezzlement

A Long Beach financial advisor who admitted to embezzling almost $1 million, deserves to go to prison for victimizing 12 hard-working people who “had their hopes and their dreams stolen,” Long Beach Superior Court Judge Daniel Lowenthal said Thursday.

Lowenthal sentenced 64-year-old Tom Fallon to 10 years and four months behind bars after Fallon pleaded no contest earlier this year to 25 counts of money laundering and grand theft.

Tom Fallon. Courtesy California Department of Insurance.

Tom Fallon. Courtesy California Department of Insurance.

Fallon’s crimes were especially egregious because he preyed on particularly vulnerable victims: injured workers who trusted him to safeguard their workers’ compensation funds, according to Lowenthal.

“This case is different,” the judge said, explaining he normally thinks prison should be reserved for violent offenders.

Fallon ran a scheme that involved convincing his victims to deposit their workers’ compensation settlement checks with him, according to prosecutors.

The law requires workers’ compensation recipients to safeguard those checks in special funds intended to pay for future medical expenses, but instead, Fallon used the money to pay for his own expenses and businesses like Big Daddy’s Cigar Lounge in Naples, according to the California Department of Insurance, which investigated the case.


Tom Fallon. Courtesy the California Insurance Department.

Fallon was charged in 2017 with stealing $273,000 from two people, but over the course of the next 18 months, more and more victims kept coming forward, investigator Gustavo Ramos said.

Ultimately, investigators believe Fallon collected $995,118 for himself, according to the insurance department.

“Fallon abused his clients’ trust in order to access their money and then stole it to stuff his own pockets,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Fallon’s callous actions ruined lives.”

Lowenthal also ordered Fallon to pay back the money he stole, but Fallon’s bank accounts were drained by the time authorities got to them, so it’s unclear if the victims will ever get their money back, according to prosecutors.

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram.