In December 2020, Santa Rosa Police officers responded to the report of a possible fraud investigation, involving an elderly victim. The victim, a 73-year-old Santa Rosa resident, reported to officers that over the course of several years, she entrusted a significant amount of funds to an acquaintance. The acquaintance agreed to invest those funds on the victim’s behalf. The victim met the suspect in 2012, through a mutual friend. Based on the initial report, the Property Crimes Investigations Team suspected the victim had been defrauded of a significant amount of money and took over the criminal investigation.  

In January of 2021, members of the Property Crimes Investigations Team served search warrants in Marina Del Rey at the suspect’s residence, and at the suspect’s place of business located in Los Angeles. During those warrant services, detectives located boxes of financial documents and correspondence and seized them as evidence. Over the next 12 months, detectives authored multiple search warrants, combed through electronic communications and financial documents, and completed several victim interviews. Detectives thoroughly audited numerous bank accounts and thousands of banking transactions over the course of several years for the victim and suspect.  

Detectives confirmed their suspicions and learned the victim had lost more than $1 million to the suspect over a seven-year period. The victim believed she was investing in lucrative high-yielding investment opportunities.  When the victim no longer had any funds to invest and asked for her investments to be liquidated, the suspect’s demeanor and communications raised suspicions.

The suspect was identified as 77-year-old Marina Del Rey resident, Elana Cohen-Roth.  Cohen-Roth is a former IRS Field Agent and IRS Tax Auditor, currently working as an enrolled agent and tax return practitioner in Los Angeles. 

In early January 2022, detectives worked with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office and secured a No Bail arrest warrant for Cohen-Roth.  The warrant for Cohen-Roth included the following charges:

368(d) PC – (Felony) Financial Elder Abuse (22 counts)

186.10(a) PC – (Felony) Money Laundering (3 counts)

On January 18, at approximately 12:45 p.m. Detectives from the SRPD Property Crimes Team with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, arrested Cohen-Roth for the outstanding warrant at her residence in the 100-block of Northstar Mall, Marina Del Rey, CA.  Cohen-Roth was booked into the LA Metropolitan Detention Center Jail and is expected to be transferred to the Sonoma County jail this week. 

SRPD detectives believe there are other victims of Cohen-Roth’s Ponzi scheme, in California, who have also invested significant funds through Cohen-Roth, for high yield investments. Cohen-Roth’s Ponzi scheme patterns consisted of making interest payments to her investors/victims, while using incoming “investment” funds to allow for her lavish lifestyle. If you believe you have been a victim of Cohen-Roth, please make a criminal report with the local jurisdiction you live in.

Submitted by SRPD