Robert Ritch presented himself as an investment broker. He accepted fees to find an investor for my business venture. After saying that he was certain to find an investor within 60 days; the fees grew, the excuses grew, and nearly a year went by with no progress. Not a single name of an vaguely interested investor was ever produced.
(By the way, I contacted Mr. Ritch's references and business associates. I also did extensive Internet research before paying any fees. Everything seemed correct. I later learned that Mr. Ritch probably paid his "references" for a positive report.)
When I questioned the value of Mr. Ritch's "efforts", he suddenly "found" and "investor". However, he said that I needed a credit card machine lease worth $5,000 to "establish credit". I did not need credit card machines for the business venture and agreed to the lease only on the condition that Mr. Ritch would take over the lease if the investment money did not materialize.
He signed me up for the lease but had "fax trouble" so I never got a copy of the document. He had the credit card readers diverted to himself. He pocketed the lease brokerage fee of about $2,500.
The "investor" turned out to be one of Mr. Ritch's associates who wanted me to pay for travel, lodging and food for his visit of several weeks to my office to show me how to arrange my company to attract investors. I said that this was unnecessary since I already had a broker (i.e. Mr. Ritch) who had done this work. The "investor" then offered the same deal to show me how to set up a data base for my company operations. I pointed out that, as an IT Project Manager, I was fully qualified to design a data base. The "investor" then offered to come, at my expense, to teach *him* data base design. I declined.
With no real investors interested (and probably none ever contacted), I terminated the brokerage arrangement with Mr. Ritch. He wrote that he transferred the credit card machine lease to his name and said he paid for it with money orders. None of this was true. He never paid a dime or processed any paperwork to take over the lease.
I reported the situation to the Federal Trade Commission and the Oregon Department of Justice. It turns out Mr. Ritch stayed just below the threshold of ripoff that triggers an investigation.
So, Mr. Ritch left me stuck responsible for a four-year unbreakable lease for credit card equipment he is evidently using in his business. He refuses to respond to my calls or e-mails.
Entrapraneurs, Beware! Rob Ritch wants your money and he wants to destroy your dreams.
Klamath Falls, Oregon