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May 8, 2008
Update: Newport broker accused of embezzling $7.3M
A Newport woman duped investors out of $7.3 million, using some of the money to buy a 65-foot yacht, rent a house in St. Barths and travel to Europe and the Caribbean, according to the Rhode Island State Police.
Elizabeth C. Baldwin, 62, of 1 Commercial Wharf, Apartment B26, was arrested Monday after a seven-month investigation. She faces several charges of embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, and fraudulent use of a computer, according to the state police.
The state police say Baldwin, acting as an investment broker, used an "elaborate scheme" to dupe 47 investors out of their money. Investigators say she paid off early investors with money from investors she later deceived.
In addition to using the money to cover losses, Baldwin used money for personal expenses, including the purchase of Van Ki Pass, a 65-foot wooden yacht.
The state police began investigating after receiving a complaint in September of last year from a group of investors from Virginia Beach, Va. According to the state plice, the group gave Baldwin $1,956,650 to invest in futures and commodities.
She provided the investors with monthly statements "indicating substantial returns" on their investment, according to the state police. But the investors contacted the state police after Baldwin neglected to provide a withdrawal from the account, the state police said.
See the full police affidavit, including descriptions of complaints by investors, here.
After her arrest, Baldwin was arraigned in 2nd Division District Court, Newport, and bail was set at $100,000 with surety bail. She was ordered to surrender her passport and forbidden from providing financial advice.
She is set to appear in court for a screening next month.
Assisting the State Police Financial Crimes Unit in the investigation was the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation and the Newport Police Department.
Baldwin also faces a complaint by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which alleges that between 2004 and Nov. 2007, she fraudulently obtained more than $500,000 doing business under the name Newportant Group.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 4:58 PM | Permalink
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