A few years ago, a woman was referred to me. She thought someone had scammed her husband out of a lot of money. I wish I could tell you I was able to help her, but I wasn’t.
I always remembered the name of the person who she thought had taken their money: Robert Andres. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I was scanning the press releases of the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country last week to come across one that began:
Robert Andres, 62, an investment manager based in Houston, pleaded guilty in federal court in Salt Lake City for his role in a $72 million investment fraud scheme.
The case itself is nothing remarkable to those of us who practice white-collar criminal defense. Mr. Andres operated a company called Winsome Investment Trust. He recruited investors to it by misrepresenting how Winsome’s assets would be invested and managed. Mr. Andres gave potential investors falsified Winsome balance sheets and told them their funds would be safely managed.
It worked as a fairly typical Ponzi scheme in that Mr. Andres would use new investors’ money to pay previous investors. Of course, he also skimmed a few million off the top to use for himself.
From 2005 and 2011, Andres raised about $72 million from would-be investors. He ended up pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and faces 20 years in prison.
It’s gratifying to see that he was eventually caught. I know I don’t usually praise DOJ in this blog, but they did a great job here.