Henrico County, VA – US District Judge Henry E. Hudson ordered Edward Thomas Menster, 58 to serve almost five years in prison for perpetrating an investment scam. Menster, from Henrico County showed no sympathy for his victims who included parents and senior citizens who have retired from public life. In his scheme, he managed to steal their money and duped them of almost $815,000.
Menster pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Hudson was stern when he told Menster that he has not made bad investments, he has, instead stolen money from people.
Menster has also been ordered to make restitution to the eight investors he has cheated. However, it is questionable whether they will ever see the money. Menster showed come contrition when he apologized to his victims stating that the buck stopped with him and that he was the guilty party. Investors like Frank Carlo and another lady from Richmond have lost almost $300,000 and $60,000 each which they invested with Menster. Both these victims are retirees who are now looking at a life filled with debt instead of being comfortably off.
The 58 month sentence is said to be around the maximum that such a crime carries.
Menster managed to carry out this fraudulent scheme by using one of his companies called College Dream Foundation which through the period of 2004 April and 2009 December, lured 8 investors and sold them annuity contracts worth $1,046,112. Menster was ably assisted in this scheme by Linda Taylor. They claimed that the annuity contracts were backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and this was a false claim of course.
Both of them also sold the annuities with the full knowledge of their inability to repay them. They also lied about the access to the money, the interests due and the very use of the funds itself to the investors. The money raised from such false promises was instead used to create a better life for Menster and he also used the money to develop an infomercial by another company. Some of the money also, in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, went to pay back other investors who had lent money to Menster.
Linda Taylor will be tried separately on the 21st of May for her role in this scheme.