Amish man indicted for 29-state, $17 million investment scam

Business owners who know where their money is coming from and where it's going become the masters of their cash flow
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(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND - Is Monroe Beachy the Amish Bernie Madoff?

Beachy, 77, is accused of defrauding his fellow Amish in 29 states out of nearly $17 million, by moving their money from safer securities to riskier investments subject to market fluctuations, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The Sugarcreek, Ohio man is accused of operating an investment scheme that defrauded nearly 2,700 people, including the Amish Helping Fund, reports CBS affiliate WOIO.

"This is fraud on a massive scale," said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "This defendant took advantage of people's trust in him and squandered the life savings of hundreds upon hundreds of families."

Beginning around 1990 and continuing to about June, 2010, Beachy represented to investors that money deposited with his investment company, A&M Investments, would be safe and would secure a positive rate of return, prosecutors contend.

He specifically represented to investors that A&M would invest in Ginnie Mae Bond Funds, a type of mortgage-backed security issued by the Government National Mortgage Association and guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States government, according to the indictment.

Beachy allegedly did not invest the money as represented and thousands of people and entities were defrauded.

Among the investors that lost money was the Amish Helping Fund, which was established to assist members of the Amish community with the purchase of land and buildings, among other things, according to the indictment.

The indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the United States Postal Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.