Former Carpinteria Resident Sentenced to State Prison for Fraudulent Investment Scheme

A former member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Carpinteria scammed several congregants

People v. Brett Edward Lovett, 17CR10694

Santa Barbara County District Attorney John T. Savrnoch announced today that on June 18, 2024 the Honorable Judge Pauline Maxwell sentenced Brett Edward Lovett, a 53-year-old former resident of Carpinteria, California to 16 years, and 8 months in State Prison related to a sprawling investment scheme that targeted elderly and vulnerable victims across the state, including some members of his own church.

The defendant was a legal document assistant who held himself out as providing investment management. He solicited funds from his victims by claiming that he could keep their money safe and provide high returns on things like hotel and real estate investments. Instead of investing his victims’ money, he used the money to purchase cosmetic procedures, vacations, first-class travel to India, and to pay back victims from a prior fraud case in which he was sued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The case was initially reported to the California Department of Insurance by a 78-year-old member of the defendant’s Kingdom Hall congregation in Carpinteria.

That victim reported that the defendant had stolen her life savings which caused her to become homeless. She also reported that he tried to use a power of attorney to get her committed to a mental institution when she complained to church elders about his theft.

Mugshot of Brett Lovett (courtesy)

The Department’s investigation uncovered numerous additional victims across California who entrusted their life savings to the defendant.

Based on that investigation, the District Attorney’s Office filed 36 felony charges against the defendant including securities fraud, grand theft, forgery, elder abuse, residential burglary, money laundering and an aggravated white collar enhancement under Penal Code section 186.11 for thefts in excess of $500,000.00.

After a 9-week trial, a Santa Barbara jury found the defendant guilty of 29 felony counts, the white collar enhancement, and series of aggravating factors that the defendant targeted particularly vulnerable victims, that the crimes indicated planning, sophistication, or professionalism by the defendant, and that the defendant’s crimes caused damage of great monetary value.

District Attorney John Savrnoch stated, “White collar crimes are particularly damaging to the elderly and the vulnerable, who often cannot financially recover from the loss of their life savings. Our Office will continue to zealously investigate and prosecute those individuals who prey on the most vulnerable members of our community. Thank you to the California Department of Insurance personnel for a thorough investigation, and to District Attorney Investigator Daniel Tagles and Senior Deputy District Attorney Casey Nelson for ensuring that justice was done in this case.”

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Written by SBCDistrictAttorney

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office. Learn more at da.countyofsb.org

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26 Comments

    • He “pretended” to be a Christian? Hard to find anyone who is not pretending. Let’s start with Trump and his religious supporters and work out from there. The basic tenets of Christianity are love and forgiveness and nonviolence. How’s that working out in the world of military aggression by all the so called Christian nations? (Not to excuse the aggression by every other religion of size.)

    • Not many people are true Christians. How many churches in town feed and clothe the poor and teach love and forgiveness and acceptance for ALL people? I think only about 5 in town do this out of the 60+ local churches.

    • It is sad that numerous people pretend.
      Plenty of bad actors on all sides.
      They say they believe in God & do awful things.
      Science people say they believe in science, science is supposed to open and curious accepting new ideas as science is ever evolving. Yet they are the most closed minded people out there.
      Crimes are committed by people from all across the board.
      Religion acknowledges that man is a sinner and lies and is susceptible to committing crimes.
      Bottom line, you need to look out for your families and friends.

  1. Any excuse to smear Christians. The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission needs 5 volunteers each evening to serve meals to 100+ walk in street homeless, no questions asked. It’s solely funded by local churches and 100s of individual donors from the Christian community. Not everyone is perfect, but you don’t need to be perfect to help someone in need.

    https://signup.com/mobileweb/2.0/vspot.html?activitykey=917002506082546048#choose_event_page

  2. Bang theory religion of science convinces people to believe that something came from nothing.
    Talk about the gullible.
    Zero proof, zero ability how to explain life came into being from nothing.
    All guesses, that is what theoretical science is.
    Just saying you have your religion with zero facts and zero proof.
    Others believe in the most documented people in history with the oldest written books describing it.
    Jesus is more well known & documented in non biblical texts than Caesar or the Pharaohs

    • BTW, your homeschooling didn’t even give you the right talking points … scientists don’t claim that life came into being from nothing. OTOH, fundies claim that a non-corporeal something poofed the earth and “the waters” and “the heavens” and the sun and the moon (but no mention of asteroids, other planets and their moons and rings, etc.) and all the animals and plants (but no mention of bacteria and viruses), and made Adam from clay (which is quite different molecularly) … these beliefs were consonant with the knowledge of the world possessed by ignorant nomads several thousand years ago, but haven’t advanced since. And these fundies think that this non-corporeal something fashioned Eve from Adam’s rib and are surprised to learn that men and women have the same number of ribs. (They’re also surprised to learn that Cain went off to make babies with other women, and that Adam had a “first wife” named Lilith … but they’re surprised by a lot of things.)

      But do go on about being gullible and having zero proof or ability to explain. goddidit is an empty assertion, not an explanation.

      Redirect further debate to https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAnAtheist/

    • Why are Science followers so closed minded and attacking those that believe in God?
      Science, titled the “Bg Bang Theory” is a theory, it’s guessing.
      Your religion says the Earth came from two rocks colliding. Where did the rocks come from? And why have they not replicated it?
      And animals evolved from single ell organisms. Where did the single life forms come from? Poof they magically appeared. There is no evidence of this anywhere.
      And you and fish and viruses all evolved from this one single cell organism millions of years ago.
      Show us the proof of this type of evolution, you can’t.
      You say that we all came from nothing in a random event.
      Random creates chaos.
      And you discredit the idea that God created the Earth from nothing and created each individual life form in its form ?

      It’s ok, just admit that your religion is science based upon man’s guessing, his ideas, theories, hypothesis.
      You have faith in science. You have no proof of your “gods” theories.
      So why do you mock those that believe in the oldest, original idea where we all came from?
      If you are true believers in science you are supposed to have an open mind. Because science is supposed to be curious, looking for answers. And once again your ideas have not been proven and cannot be replicated to prove your side.

      • After reading the above post, I thought you might benefit from some communication tips:
        -Be relevant to the original discussion as much as possible.
        -If you want to advocate for a philosophical position, choose your words carefully. Being sloppy undermines your advocacy.
        -If you want to advocate against a philosophical position, make sure you know some facts about that position, and don’t misstate the other position simply to fit a convenient, facile argument of your own making.
        -If you want to state your own beliefs in a public place like this, even if it’s not relevant to the original discussion, just do it. If it’s your opinion you don’t need “proof”. People will allow you to be honest. Trying to make other people wrong is 1) beyond your skill, apparently 2) unnecessary 3) merely furthers antagonism.

      • SBLETS – please stop thinking you’re a Christian in any capacity. God doesn’t love those who discriminate against others for how they were born. Not in any way. Your comments here over the years have shown your true colors and they’re anything but Christian.

        • Who’s discriminating against people? Did you read what I had replied to?
          Anonymous stated, “ religion conditions a person to believe without the need for evidence.”
          Then RHS, “ Let’s start with Trump and his religious supporters and work out from there.” Talking about wars.
          Trump is the only one talking peace.
          He’s the first pres to not start or get involved in a war.
          Then dalgorf, “ scientists don’t claim that life came into being from nothing.”
          But science does cosine that rocks came out of nowhere and that single life appears out of nowhere.

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