Couple Accused of Fraud for Befriending Doctor, Drugging Him to Steal Millions

A conniving couple — one a yoga instructor and the other a hairdresser — befriended a gullible, lonely Malibu doctor and drugged him for a year so they could steal millions from him, federal authorities say.

Anna Moore, 39, and Anthony Flores, 46, were indicted in February on 12 federal charges, including conspiracy, identity theft, mail fraud, and money laundering, as they allegedly embezzled $2.7 million from the doctor and then tried to steal another $20 million after he died in 2018, according to the US Department of Justice.

The DOJ didn’t name the victim, but the Los Angeles Times, in an report about the scheme, said he was Mark Sawusch, an ophthalmologist who was also a successful investor worth millions of dollars.

The Justice Department said that the fraud was uncovered when Sawusch’s mother and sister, who live in Florida, filed a lawsuit against Moore and Flores, also known as Anton David.

Flores and Moore allegedly violated multiple court orders to return the money they stole from the victim in the course of the lawsuit, allegedly “funneling the money through multiple different accounts to thwart the victim’s estate and court-appointed receiver from recouping the money,” the DOJ said. The suit was ultimately settled with Flores and Moore agreeing to pay the estate $1 million, which they have not yet done.

The sordid scheme began in June 2017, the DOJ said, when Flores — a yoga instructor — and Moore — a hairstylist and former yoga studio owner — befriended the victim, who suffered from mental illness and could no longer take care of himself.

“Within days of meeting the victim, Flores and Moore moved into the victim’s beachfront Malibu home – rent free – and slowly took control of his life by pretending to be his new ‘best friends’ and caregivers,” the DOJ said.

Sawusch suffered a “severe mental breakdown” in September of that year and was arrested, the DOJ said.  MarketWatch provided further details: Sawusch’s family refused to pay his bail when he was arrested, hoping that some time in a psych facility would wake him up. It didn’t. Instead, Flores convinced the troubled doctor to sign over power of attorney to him.

“Flores allegedly represented that he would only use these powers to access the victim’s finances to post bail for release, and that he would immediately rescind them once the victim was free from jail,” the DOJ said. “But after the victim was released from custody, Flores allegedly reneged on this promise and used these powers to open bank accounts in the victim’s name, giving himself and Moore access to the victim’s wealth.”

From that time until May 2018, the couple — who are no longer together — are accused of diverting funds to their own bank accounts. They also isolated Sawusch from friend and family and began pumping him full of drugs, including ketamine, marijuana, and LSD.

According to the DOJ, Flores and Moore gave the victim LSD, watching as his mental state deteriorated. Flores is accused of changing the two-step authentication on Sawusch’s $60 million brokerage account while the eye doctor was under the influence of the hallucinogen. He had previously changed the phone number on the account to his own.

Four days before the doctor’s death — while he was still under the influence of LSD — Flores allegedly initiated two $1 million wire transfers from that brokerage account to accounts that he fully controlled.

Sawusch evicted them from his home, but they moved into a high-end hotel, paying for it with the victim’s money, and watched him from cameras they had installed in his home.

“OMG,” Sawusch texted a friend after having the police remove them, the Times reported. “I just realized Anna and Anton are f***ing white collar tax fraud criminals who tried to steal my Tesla and home. OMG. I am sooo gullible.”

Sawusch, 57, died in May 2018. Flores and Moore promptly moved back into his beach house and allegedly began withdrawing large sums of money from his accounts.

The couple argued in the civil lawsuit from Sawusch’s family that the family was trying to have him committed so that they could control his money and that all they were trying to do was help him, MarketWatch reported. They argued that Sawusch hated his mother, which was countered by the doctor’s will, which left his entire fortune to her.

Flores and Moore broke up in mid-2021, and Moore moved to Mexico, where she was living earlier this year when the federal grand jury indicted both of them. Moore was arrested in February when she stepped off a plane in Houston and is awaiting extradition to California, the DOJ said. Flores was arrested in late January in Fresno.

They have pleaded not guilty and face statutory maximum sentences of 20 years in prison for each of seven fraud counts, 20 years on three conspiracy to commit money laundering and laundering of monetary instruments counts, 10 years on transactional money laundering count, and a mandatory two-year prison sentence for aggravated identity theft count.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.

[Featured image: Anthony Flores and Anna Moore dressed as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Inset: Mark Sawusch/Facebook]