An actress and former yoga studio owner who lives in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested by federal authorities on January 31 in Houston upon her arrival on a flight from Mexico. She and a Fresno, California, hairstylist have been charged in a 12-count indictment alleging they defrauded a California physician out of over $2.7 million before his death, then tried to defraud his estate out of an additional $20 million or more, the Justice Department announced on February 1.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, Anna Renee Moore made her initial court appearance in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, located in downtown Houston. There, she reportedly did not enter a plea.
She and co-defendant Anthony David Flores, whom federal agents arrested last week in Fresno, are expected to appear in Los Angeles federal court in the coming weeks, with Moore being extradited from Texas to California.
Flores, who goes by the name of Anton David, has pleaded not guilty to the federal felony charges against him. He is set for a detention hearing on February 10 in the Eastern District of California.
Each is charged with the following:
- 1 count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud
- 1 count of aggravated identity theft
- 2 counts of wire fraud
- 2 counts of mail fraud
- 1 count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering
- 2 counts of money laundering
- 1 count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property
IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI handled the investigation of the case.
As the IRS made clear in a statement, an indictment “contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Potential penalties for their alleged crimes
If Flores, 46, and Moore, 39, are convicted on all counts, they would face decades in prison.
Penalties upon conviction would include statutory maximum sentences of:
- 20 years in prison for each fraud count;
- 20 years in prison for the counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and laundering of monetary instruments;
- 10 years in prison on the transactional money laundering count; and
- A mandatory 2-year prison sentence for the aggravated identity theft count.
The victim in the alleged scheme was Malibu, California, ophthalmologist and investor Dr. Mark Sawusch. The eye surgeon’s name was not given in the indictment, which was made by a grand jury on December 15, 2022.
Moore, who is a native of California, has acted in several films, including 2022’s I’m Charlie Walker and the 2021 horror movie The Shattering. She also owned the now-closed Fulton Yoga Collective in Fresno.
Flores is a licensed hairdresser and the owner of Central Valley Window Cleaning in Fresno.
Fraud case stretched back to 2017
According to the indictment, starting in June of 2017, Moore and Flores used false promises and representations to befriend the victim, who was a physician and successful investor with a brokerage account worth more than $60 million.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the pair met the eye surgeon at an ice cream parlor in Venice, California.
The man was suffering from mental illness—namely, bipolar disorder—and had lost the ability to care for himself. Within days of meeting him, Moore and Flores allegedly moved into the man’s beachfront home in Malibu, where they lived rent-free while slowly taking control of his life by pretending to be his caregivers and best friends.
Have you been charged with a white-collar crime? Learn about potential punishments and defenses in Texas.
In September 2017, after the man suffered a mental breakdown, Flores allegedly fraudulently induced him to sign powers of attorney granting Flores control over the man’s finances. He then allegedly opened bank accounts in the man’s name, providing himself and Moore access to the man’s wealth.
According to the IRS, from September 2017 to May 2018, the pair allegedly diverted the man’s funds to their own bank accounts, isolated him from his family and longtime friends and provided him with drugs, including LSD and marijuana.
While the man was under the influence of LSD, Flores allegedly changed the 2-step authentication feature on his $60-million online brokerage account and allegedly initiated 2 separate $1 million wires from the man’s brokerage account to accounts that Flores controlled, including Flores’s personal bank account.
Moore and Flores then left the victim, who was in mental distress and had evicted them from his home, and they stayed in a luxury hotel paid for with the man’s funds. They moved back into his home after the man died in May 2018 at the age of 57. They then allegedly withdrew large amounts of money from his accounts while concealing information about his finances from his sister and mother, who lived in Florida. The man’s family then filed a lawsuit over fraud.
The lawsuit was settled with Moore and Flores agreeing to repay the victim’s estate $1 million, which so far they have not done.
White-collar crimes are serious crimes
As you can see, white-collar crimes such as fraud and money laundering are serious crimes, with punishments that can include decades in prison. Just because these are non-violent crimes does not mean they can’t have severe consequences.
White-collar crimes can involve federal charges or state charges, each with its own set of penalties.
If you’re facing a white-collar crime charge on the state level in Houston or elsewhere in Texas, you’re likely wondering, What are sentencing and penalty guidelines for white-collar crimes in Texas?
- Under Texas white-collar crime laws, a theft of $200,000 or more is deemed a 1st-degree felony. Penalties can include a sentence of 5 to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Texas law deems the theft of between $100,000 and $200,000 a 2nd-degree felony, which is a lesser crime than a 1st-degree felony. Penalties for such a theft can include 2 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Theft of $20,000 to $100,000 is considered a 3rd-degree felony in Texas. Penalties upon conviction can include a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Get an experienced white-collar criminal defense lawyer
Clearly, if you or a loved one faces a state or federal charge for a white-collar crime such as fraud, embezzlement, money laundering or theft, you need to get a skilled and experienced white-collar criminal defense lawyer or defense attorney.
The Neal Davis Law Firm has consistently received awards and honors for its work handling white-collar crime cases. If you live in Houston, Conroe, The Woodlands, Sugar Land or elsewhere in southeast Texas, contact us today to arrange a consultation for your case.