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Confessed Ponzi Perp Charged With Wire Fraud

By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) - The Greenwood Village businessman who confessed to running a Ponzi scheme for the last seven years, costing investors millions, turned himself in to federal authorities Tuesday. He was charged with wire fraud.

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(credit: CBS)

"The damage is more than I ever dreamed I could do to people," said Dan Rudden, 71, after he was released Tuesday afternoon from federal custody.

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CBS4's Brian Maass interviews Dan Rudden by phone. (credit: CBS)

In an initial confession to CBS4 last week, Rudden said he believed he had taken his investors for $55 million. On Tuesday, he said he believed the amount was likely much less, but he wasn't sure what it was and was still likely in the millions.

"I feel terrible about the whole thing. You're always sorry after the fact," said Rudden during a lengthy interview with CBS4.

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(credit: CBS)

He had established a business in 2000 called Financial Visions, helping finance cemeteries and funeral homes across the country. Rudden, a father of six, and a grandfather, said for years, the business was a huge success yielding 12 percent returns for investors.

But, he said in about 2010, the business model decayed and morphed into a Ponzi scheme with money from new investors being used to pay dividends to old investors.

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Dan Rudder (credit: CBS)

"I betrayed everyone in my life... investors, family and friends."

In an affidavit unsealed Tuesday, an FBI agent wrote a woman in California had contacted the FBI saying Rudden defrauded her of $300,000. She said she gave Rudden $100,000 in 2017 as an investment in Financial Visions. But by 2017, the business had been a Ponzi scheme for years according to Rudden.

He said when he took the woman's money last year, "There wasn't much hope for recovery."

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CBS4's Brian Maass interviews Dan Rudder. (credit: CBS)

Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Denver, told CBS4 "This is an active and ongoing investigation," hinting that there could be additional criminal charges.

Rudden said despite what some investors might suspect, there is no money to return. He says he didn't blow the money on gambling or yachts or extravagant living, but on a business model that couldn't be sustained.

"You live your life and do good things and then you end up devastating everyone in your life. Everyone is going to pay a price for this at some level."

Rudden is due back in court Aug. 6.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.


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