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Rip-Off Alert: Trust betrayed by con man's actions

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 1/09 5:05 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV — In this Rip-Off Alert, how a con man created documents, stock certificates and monthly statements to further his scheme.

Robert Beauchene promised investors a 10 percent to 20 percent return on their money. They trusted him – so they made the leap.

“The fraud involved a hedge fund that didn’t exist and an investment adviser who had tricked four investors,” according to U.S. Postal Inspector Greg Ghiozzi.

“He had acted as investment advisor while he worked in New York. He moved down to Wilmington, N.C., but maintained relationship with them and asked them to invest in this hedge fund.

“The previous relationship was an important aspect of him gaining their trust. He was also a very personable guy, very interesting guy and that also helped win over their trust.”

Investors received stock certificates as well as monthly statements showing a healthy profit for the fund. But they were phony documents. After several months, investors started to have questions.

“The investors realized they had been scammed when Robert Beauchene stopped returning their calls and seemingly fell off the face of the Earth,” Ghiozzi said.

The small group of investors lost more than $140,000, money authorities said they believed Beauchene used for himself. Several victims were devastated.

“The money they invested was all they had in savings, and the loss of that money had a dramatic effect on their lives,” Ghiozzi said.

Postal inspectors say the victims had such a strong relationship with Beauchene that they were hesitant to believe he scammed them.

“Not only is there a financial loss, but there is also an emotional loss,” Ghiozzi said, “and sometimes that emotional loss of trust is actually more damaging than the financial losses.”

Postal inspectors caution that you should not let emotions guide your investment decisions, and always do your research.

Beauchene was sentenced to one year in prison, plus three years of supervised release.



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