Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 24, 2013

Kokomo wealth manager dead after shooting

Ky. sheriff says Richard Schwartz tried to kill his wife

By Scott Smith Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Richard Schwartz, an investment adviser who built his business in Kokomo, killed himself Wednesday at his Simpsonville, Ky., home, after first attempting to kill his wife, a Shelby County, Ky. sheriff investigator said Friday.

Maj. Jason Rice said deputies were called to the Schwartz home, 2000 Todds Point Road, Simpsonville, around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on a report of shots fired.

When they arrived, they found Schwartz dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Rice said that prior to committing suicide, Schwartz first fired a total of seven rounds at his wife, Brielle, who managed to escape through a bathroom window without being hurt.

Six other individuals, all family members, were in the house when the shooting occurred, and all were able to flee without being struck, Rice said. He said the family members were all on the other side of what he described as a “very large, million-dollar house” when the shooting started.

“[Brielle and Richard Schwartz] were in a bedroom arguing, when she noticed he had a gun. She fled into the bathroom, and closed and locked the door,” Rice said. According to Brielle, the gun jammed initially, giving her enough time to run into the bathroom, Rice said. Schwartz was able to clear the jam and begin firing a short time later, he added.

The bathroom contained a small room where the toilet was located. Brielle closed the door to that inner room, and then knocked out a window screen behind the toilet to escape, Rice said.

If she had stayed in the bathroom, she would have likely been struck by one or more of the bullets Schwartz fired through the door between the bedroom and the bathroom, he added.

Rice said the family members were visiting during the Kentucky State Fair, where the Schwartzes were showing horses.

Some of the family members were there to go to the fair, while others were there to baby-sit for Brielle and Richard, he said. Schwartz did not attempt to target any of the other individuals in the house before turning the gun on himself, Rice said.

Rice said it was clear there was considerable financial pressure on the couple prior to the incident.

“[Brielle] said there was an abnormal amount of lawsuits and papers being filed, and he wasn’t really giving her much information on what was going on,” Rice said.

Rice said that since the shooting, his office has been contacted by the FBI and a local law enforcement agency from Indiana, in regard to questions about Richard Schwartz’s financial dealings. He said he was aware Schwartz was being investigated, but had no further details.

The FBI office in Indianapolis and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Indiana both declined to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation into Schwartz.

Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers said investigators with his department contacted Shelby County to confirm Schwartz’ death, and said one potential victim had contacted his office through a local attorney.

Rogers said the Howard County Sheriff Department will likely refer that individual to the FBI, and said his agency hadn’t opened a formal investigation into Schwartz.

“Our knowledge is that most of these cases would have ended up as federal cases anyway,” Rogers said.

Schwartz started his financial planning business in Kokomo before branching out to Scottsdale, Ariz. Rice said Schwartz had a horse farm in Simpsonville, which is a center for the horse industry in Kentucky.

The Circuit Court Clerk’s office in Shelby County said Brielle Schwartz filed for divorce July 17, but declined to release any further details. The couple had a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Brielle Schwartz filed for divorce one day after the U.S. Southern District Court in Indianapolis entered a $1.45 million default judgment against her husband.

According to federal court records, the New York Life Insurance Co. terminated its agent’s contract with Schwartz in March 2012, and shortly thereafter demanded Schwartz make good on a negative ledger balance with the company.

New York Life officials said the money owed was “compensation credited to Schwartz for policies which were rescinded, declined, not issued, canceled, surrendered, foreclosed, expired, or reduced and replaced with new policies.”

In the lawsuit, company officials said efforts to arrange a repayment schedule ended when Schwartz stopped returning phone calls in June 2012.

Valerie Kroeger, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, confirmed Friday that the agency’s securities division has opened an investigation into Schwartz, but declined further comment. Dennis Rosebrough, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Insurance, said Friday the agency has an open case investigation on Schwartz, but wasn’t able to provide additional details immediately.

An answering machine at the South Dixon Road office of Schwartz’ Kokomo office, RAS Associates, informed callers Friday that the office was “closed indefinitely” and didn’t mention any alternative number to call. A message left wasn’t immediately returned Friday.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.