Kate and Peter Lareau are each from socially prominent families, with respected professional credentials (Citibank, Legg Mason), with respected educational degrees (Goucher College, Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton), and with volunteer/religious connections (school board, Episcopalian church).
Somewhere in the early 2000s, they went off track from their legitimate lifestyle. They may have lost almost everything in the dot com crash, as Peter Lareau fancies himself an investment expert in this sector. They proceeded to found and launch a company, Concordia Mediaworks, that ostensibly was to develop proprietary educational software and to work with investment banks on acquisitions relate to their educational mission.
Peter Lareau also connected with an established video production firm in midtown Manhattan whose name and address he used on his and Kate's business cards. By 2006, he was knowledgeable enough to gain meetings with respected investment firms, so he said, like Allen and Co. and Black Rock. He had inside knowledge of a public company, Primedia, that was up for sale.
Lareau was also able to network so he would schedule meetings that comprised a range of people in established, honest firms linked to education. One of these was Al Primo, creator of "Eyewitness News", who combined with Concordia Mediaworks on his syndicated TV program "Teen Kids News."
For people who knew the Lareaus for a long time, like me, or who had met them via volunteer or church activities, the above was enough to dissuade due diligence on Peter Lareau's claims of his dealmaking and entrepreneurial prowess. From this, the Lareaus induced people to invest in Concordia Mediaworks for "short-term" amounts of $25,000 and $50,000, and more, for which Peter Lareau would cut a funds repatriation check post-dated on his company account. The investor was then supposed to get his/her investment returned as Concordia built revenues or made deals. Many Concordia investment agreements were co-signed by Kenneth Kunzman, Esq. of Connell Foley LLC, a respected New Jersey law firm. This added credibility, though it's now uncertain if Kunzman conspired with the Lareaus.
None of this was true. Peter Lareau kept holding meetings, while holding off on his "investors" cashing the repatriation checks. He had closed the company accounts, his claims of investors and name firm connections were false, and he never made the acquisition offers as he stated. He also utilized his first cousin Jerry Lareau, a Shelter Island NY Republican party official and Southampton NY executive recruiter, to advise him on Concordia and its dealmaking. No evidence has yet appeared to link Jerry Lareau directly to this fraud, but he will not be forthcoming about his involvement and has sent vicious emails to me in September 2010 when directly questioned.
Consensus suspicion is that Kate and Peter Lareau diverted the Concordia "investment" funds to pay their childrens' annual tuition at prestigious secondary schools like Phillips Exeter. They kept adding "investors" as the tuition came due. They even conned the widower of a woman killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, along with a man whose retirement savings were seriously depleted by them.
His wife and he then resorted to outright lies and threats once I started doing due diligence and demanding repayment. As recently as May 2010, Peter Lareau was appearing at Princeton on a career day extolling the bogus success of Concordia Mediaworks. Ultimately, several of the Concordia "investors' found out about each other and made contact.
The Lareaus have been arrested on local check fraud charges. Their case is also subject to further, far more serious prosecution. The objective of this post is to learn if the Lareaus conned other people.