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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 01:54PM

I'm not home, so haven't had a chance to read the article, but it just came out on WaPo. The headline:
An alleged $500 million Ponzi scheme preyed on Mormons. It ended with FBI gunfire.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/02/01/mormon-ponzi-scheme-vegas-fbi/

The article is 5,000 words, so not light reading. I just barely skimmed it, but from the last paragraph, sounds like the reporter who was working on the story was murdered last September.
------------
Las Vegas investigative reporter Jeff German was slain outside his home on Sept. 2; a Clark County official he had investigated is charged in his death. To continue German’s work, The Washington Post teamed up with his newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, to complete one of the stories he’d planned to pursue before his killing. A folder on German’s desk contained court documents he’d started to gather about an alleged Ponzi scheme that left hundreds of victims – many of them Mormon – in its wake. Post reporter Lizzie Johnson began investigating, working with Review-Journal photographer Rachel Aston.


And, WRT the financial entrepreneur who committed suicide, mentioned in another thread, this is precisely why I cringe whenever anyone describes themself as a financial entrepreneur. "Investment banker" (Brother Mitt) is a real career. Financial entrepreneur sounds like playing shell games with other people's money.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 01:58PM

I'm terribly interested in reading the article but WaPo wants me to pay for the privilege. I don't feel like signing up. Too bad. I'm curious. I love reading long articles.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 02:35PM

Oh, I found a way to read the article without paying. Yes, long. But interesting. A bit confusing to me - I had to read it twice - so many twisty details.

I thought it was going to be related to the thread here about the suicide - as in the same guy maybe - but it doesn't seem so.

"Too good to be true" - funny how this kind of scam seems so obvious to people from a distance but the perpetrators of such things can pull in family and friends. Because of trust. Misplaced trust, as it turns out.

From the long article:

"The investment also had no website. Spread via word of mouth, it was reliant on the trust that came from a shared religious affiliation, known as an affinity scam."


I thought that was a good point about how people get roped in. One of the hooks used is that your friends, workmates, families, church pals are involved, people you know and trust. So you let down your guard. Yet the red flags are so obvious to outsiders. Some of the investigators of this particular scam could tell immediately that it was a Ponzi scheme just by reading its blurbs and yet people had been willing to "invest" their life savings in it, due to trusting others who were involved, including the ones at the top who were promoting it. It's hard to imagine that people would fork over their *entire* life savings to one source, expecting to receive a reported 50% yield. If it sounds too good to be true...


Kind of like proselytizing religions: you know someone, you like them, trust them, believe them, and they (kindly, you think) invite you to church. Unfortunately, there often turns out to be an ulterior motive. They or others in the group are seeking to convert you.

I got very tired of "friends" with ulterior motives.

At least I didn't give my worldly wealth over to any church I joined. Not that it would have been a big score for them. Haha.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 05:35PM

No one with any knowledge of investments would consider a guaranteed 50% return rate to be anything other than a scam. I guess greed overtakes common sense.

I hope that this doesn't affect the ordinary people who are awaiting their full insurance payouts.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 02:57PM

Here's the lawsuit: https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2022/comp-pr2022-61.pdf

If you ask Google, you'll find a number of free sources of info in re this debacle.


Here's a quote from an article, https://www.8newsnow.com/crime/half-billion-dollar-ponzi-scheme-funded-las-vegas-lawyers-lavish-lifestyle-gambling-debts-feds-claim/

"Last month, a man filed a civil
lawsuit against Beasley and others
for the alleged Ponzi scheme.

"In the suit, the man claims that
between 2017 and 2022 Beasley and
Judd convinced him to invest millions
of dollars in short-term investments,
written into contracts, that would
pay a return of 7.5-13% in 90 days."


In taking the time to actually parce this information, it made sense to me that...

A)  If 'the man' was involved for five years, for at least the first three years, he was making money, no way would he go five years without ever getting at least close to the promised returns;

B)  The man still believes in the tooth fairy. No way a small-time investor will routinely earn 7.5 to 13% per year, year in and year out.  That's up there with the perpetual motion machine; be sure to buy in early!

I think the thing that gets people caught up in these scams is that Warren Buffet's rate of return is in the high teens...except that even he loses: his ROR in 2018 was close to minus 4%.  It's easy to delude yourself, "if he can do it, so can I!".

Too many people chase impossible dreams.  People need to pay attention to what they see in the mirror at 5:00 a.m. on a cold Wednesday morning . . .

Now, all that being said, let me tell you about this sweet, sweet deal I can get you in on!!  Maybe nothing is guaranteed, but there's no way this baby can lose!  Email me your bank account number and your password, and I'll get you hooked up to the deal of my life!!!  Guaranteed 19% interest, paid itzigrhixgdly!!  Would I lie?!  Remember, a itzigrhixgd in time saves nine!



(also, if you're tuned into the insurance lawsuit defense industry, you'd know that plaintiff attorneys would NEVER borrow money against the value of their clients' lawsuits.  And they do lend money to their clients at high-interest rates.  But they're just as likely to make a quick, undervalued settlement when they need cash flow.  All those ads on TV and radio aren't cheap!)

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 02:00PM

Everyone is a "financial entrepreneur". That's why we have jobs.

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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: February 01, 2023 02:05PM

Sounds a lot like the Mormon Mafia that operated a Ponzi Scheme out of my former ward in WA, and got Fined by the SEC to the tune of $4million.

https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr18719.htm

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Posted by: Left The Morg ( )
Date: February 04, 2023 07:28PM

On Saturday 4 February NPR has just run a segment on "The Mormon Ponzi Scheme." https://www.npr.org/programs/all-things-considered/

Scroll down to the title "A reporter picks up Ponzi scheme investigation where a slain journalist left off"

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