by John Darer® CLU ChFC CSSC RSP
The Jews have Bernard Madoff and now the Catholics have Richard S. Piccoli in the latest despicable chapter of screwing your own".
Piccoli, 82, of Amherst, New York, a poor man's version of Bernard Madoff who even bears an odd resemblance, was charged on January 8, 2009 with running a multi-million dollar Ponzi Scheme that allegedly defrauded hundreds of Buffalo, New York area investors, many of whom were Catholic priests, parishes and parish members.
According reports in the Buffalo News and the Wall Street Journal, Piccoli claimed he could provide high returns by investing in discounted real estate portfolios consisting of safe "seasoned" mortgages. According to the SEC complaint SEC v. Gen-See Capital Corp. and Richard S. Piccoli, 09 CV 0014 S (W.D.N.Y.), the Defendants relied heavily on advertisements in newsletters published by churches and dioceses. The Catholic News Agency reports that one of Gen-See's Ads used the tag line Earn More Worry Less, Your Money Deserves the Best" (a tag line more deserving of a pizza box, in the opinion of this author).
Federal prosecutors and the SEC said the scheme had operated for more than 30 years, draining investors of their life savings, college savings and retirement savings.
It is not known whether any tort victims or plaintiff attorney money was entrusted to Piccoli's Gen-See Capital Corporation, however the story clearly is just another example of "if it appears too good to be true", it may very well not be true. Our thoughts go to all of the victims of this horrible tragedy.
Click right for the SEC Release SEC Brings Emergency Action to Halt Ponzi Scheme and Affinity Fraud Targeting Clergy, Catholics And Senior Citizens
Click right for the Buffalo News Story on Richard S. Piccoli
Click right for Catholic News Agency's "Alleged Multi-Million dollar Ponzi scheme targeted Catholics" January 9, 2009
Richard PIccoli was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crimes and is destined to die in jail.