The insurance company called Arete LLC and its owner  Gary Snisky, allegedly targeted elderly annuity holders, the  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.

The fraudulent scheme raised $4.3 million from more than 40 investors in eight states.. Snisky allegedly used much of the money to pay his mortgage and cover the agents’ commissions, the SEC said when it filed charges against him in November.

The SEC said three of the agents raised approximately $1.5 million for Snisky, promising the investors their money was being invested in safe government-backed bonds. The agents — Kenneth C. Meissner of Fair Oaks Branch, Tex., James Doug Scott of Perkasie, Penn., and Mark S. Tomich of Belmont, Mich. — were paid a total of $90,000 in commissions.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers