Embezzlement scheme and three year investigation
Roseville, Calif. – On Nov. 21, 2022, the Honorable St. Evans sentenced Robert Barnack, age 67, to eight years and eight months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for his $2 million embezzlement scheme.
Barnack served as the investment advisor for a local small, family-owned agriculture business, where employees are treated like family. The owner had built the company with the hopes of leaving a legacy and being able to financially support themselves, their loved ones and their employees. One of the company’s many offerings was a profit-sharing plan for employees.
In 2012, Barnack approached the victim representing himself as the Chief Investment Officer of Balance Point Retirement Analytics LLC in Roseville, which has since been dissolved. The defendant assured the victim that he could provide them and their profit sharing plan a much higher return through purchasing corporate bonds which would have a higher return over time and eventually mature in 2017.
Greed & Embezzlement
Between 2012 and 2017, Barnack provided the victim with account statements which reflected the high returns as promised. In 2017, the employees wanted to cash out their investments, yet when asked, the defendant avoided their requests and provided excuses. After numerous conversations and requests from the victim, Barnack had not returned any of the $2 million collected from them or their company.
In 2018, Barnack’s company was sued in federal court by the owners of the small business. During the legal proceedings it was discovered that Barnack took the funds “invested” with his company to purchase cars, jewelry, pay for college tuition and other personal items. He also embezzled the money into another company he owned.
In 2019, the family business won a court judgment of $2.5 million from Barnack. Barnack made approximately two payments of $100,000 to them under the judgment. He then missed multiple payments over the course of months. He would say the money was tied up in investments and promise to pay later, but never did.
The victim and owner of the business personally paid for his employees to be made whole in their employee profit-sharing plan, at the cost of the losing nearly everything.
3-year Roseville PD investigation
After a three-year investigation, Roseville Police Department secured a warrant in June, which led to Barnack’s arrest by the U.S. Marshals in Los Angeles. He has been held since in the South Placer County jail.
In September 2022, the Placer County District Attorney filed state charges against Barnack for fraud and fraudulent intent to appropriate client money for his own personal use.
In October 2022, Barnack gave an open plea to two felony counts of fraudulent intent to appropriate funds as well as an enhancement alleging the taking of over $500,000. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office declined to make an offer in this case, requesting that the defendant be sentenced to the maximum exposure in this case based on the circumstances of this case.
The Honorable Judge Angus St. Evans considered the totality of the circumstances and decided to sentence Barnack to the maximum time in prison, calling his behavior “shameful”.
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office wants residents to know that if a venture seems too good to be true, it probably is not legitimate. Residents can always verify a company’s validity through the office’s fraud hotline at (916) 645-7226 or checking the Better Business Bureau.