Rod Rieman is a member of this church, Riverside Community church St. Charles.
His conning story is told in a Chicago Sun Times article:
'He hurt a lot of people'
CON MAN OR VICTIM? | St. Charles man found investors at his church; they lost millions
September 19, 2007
BY MARY WISNIEWSKImwisniewski@suntimes.com
"He portrayed himself as a very big Christian."
"He pointed out that he was an elder in the church."
Click to enlarge image "I don't get depressed. I get ticked off," says 84-year-old Melvin P*****.
Click to enlarge image Melvin P****, 84, said he was initially skeptical of Roderick Rieman's investing claims.
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"Because he came to the church and used references of people I trusted, I trusted him."
That's how west suburban investors talk about Roderick J. Rieman, a St. Charles investment adviser. Rieman used his church activity as a character reference, and would end a business letter with "God bless."
But God was apparently not on Rieman's side when it came to making money for clients.
More than a dozen investors in the western suburbs, including those who knew Rieman through his former church, told the Sun-Times that Rieman lost them millions through such investments as Mexican hotel time shares and ad boxes for the tops of ATM machines. Both investments have since been identified as fraudulent Ponzi schemes by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC this month sued 26 defendants, including Michael Kelly and Resort Holdings International, for cheating thousands of investors, mostly senior citizens, out of more than $300 million in the time-share scheme. Rieman was not named and has not been charged with a crime, but local investors say he was their conduit to this and other frauds.
The money came from home-equity loans, IRAs and savings. Investors claim Rieman promised "no risk" and high returns -- but they lost their principal.
"He's a con man," said Patrick Hincks, a lawyer for Yorkville retiree Gerald Chase, who won a default judgment against Rieman for $1.4 million in losses. "He pitched these highly risky and highly speculative investments. He hurt a lot of people."
Hincks said Chase met Rieman through the Community Christian Church of Naperville. Hincks said up to 30 church members lost money. Other investors found Rieman through other means, like mutual friends.
One former church member, who asked not to be named, said he lost $269,000 and is now medicated for depression.
Those who lost money included CCC's pastor, Dave Ferguson, who said he had forgiven Rieman, but was glad he was out of his church.
Rieman referred questions to his lawyer, Jose Lopez, who did not return calls.
Without admitting to the truth of the allegations, Rieman entered into a consent order last October with the Secretary of State's Securities Department, permanently prohibiting him and his company, Innovative Financial Services, from offering and selling securities in Illinois. The order said Rieman sold money-losing investments without informing investors of the risks and without registering the securities.
Rieman filed for bankruptcy in March. His debts include a $1 million mortgage loan on his home, while assets include an $85,204 interest in "Resorts International."
"If there was fraudulent activity on his part, why would he be buying the same stock he was selling?" asked Rieman's bankruptcy attorney, Thomas Byrnes, who said "look, I know he is guilty, but I have a ex-wife and mortgage to pay!"
A few of Rieman's former clients believe Rieman was not trying to defraud but was himself suckered.
"I think he just was incompetent," said Edna "Toni" K******, 75, a former Chicagoan now living in Arizona. She lost over $100,000 through Rieman investments, and now lives off $1,015 a month from Social Security. "I feel just sick about what happened."