Point Pleasant Man Admits Defrauding Elderly Couple
HUNTINGTON, WV—A Point Pleasant man today admitted defrauding two elderly victims of more than $210,000 in a bogus investment scheme, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. Mark Anthony, 40, of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a hearing before Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
Anthony admitted that over a span of nearly 10 years, he deceived an elderly Point Pleasant couple into believing that he was a licensed investment representative who would invest their money in high-yielding annuities and money-market accounts. The couple gave him more than $210,000 of their savings to invest, with the wife continuing to give Anthony money for supposed investments after her husband passed away. Instead of investing the money, Anthony stole it, spending the couple’s nest egg to buy things for himself and pay personal expenses. Occasionally, Anthony mailed the couple a small check that he pretended was a return on their investments, but which actually was Anthony’s own money that he sent to keep them on the hook. Anthony also mailed the couple fake tax forms that pretended to show their income from investments Anthony had made for them.
“Protecting West Virginia’s senior citizens from scams like this has been a priority for me from day one,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “This case is a reminder to stay vigilant. There are plenty more scammers out there like this defendant, who may seem trustworthy but are really out to separate people from their hard-earned savings. Always be wary of any deal that seems too good to be true.”
U.S. Attorney Goodwin’s website provides information for seniors to avoid becoming victims of fraud and other crimes: http://www.justice.gov/usao/wvs/Safe-senior-brochure.pdf.
Anthony faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on February 17, 2015.
The West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the case. Counsel to the United States Attorney Steve Ruby and Assistant United States Attorney Gabriele Wohl are handling the prosecution.