Los Angeles, CA - Officials say a certified public accountant convinced many of his clients, friends and family to invest money with him in order to profit on real estate investments. Since many of them had trusted him for years, they did, and they lost.
“Because I trusted this family friend I invested with Dan Wise,” Dr. Robin Schupp said.
Schupp says Dan Wise was intelligent and attentive, which is why she trusted him with her money. He told her she could take her money out anytime and had access to it.
Wise promised his investors a 12 percent growth on their money. Schupp said she received many statements showing she had growth.
“I took him for his word, which was a mistake obviously.” Schupp said.
Turns out, it was all a lie. Dan Wise was running a ponzi scam.
“He gets individuals to invest in his business, and usually taking money for himself, spending it on himself and then paying the earlier investors with the later investors’ money,” U.S. Postal Inspector Miranda Garcia said.
20 victims lost more than $67 million in the scam.
“Most of his victims were already clients,” Garcia said. “He had established the relationship of trust, so I don’t think getting them to invest was all that difficult.”
Postal inspectors said Wise ran a legitimate accounting business for years. So why did he start the scheme?
“I think like most people who run a Ponzi scheme… it’s just greed. They are educated and they are well spoken and I think that just lends to the fact that they have access not only to a lot of people’s financials, but their trust as well.” Garcia said.
Which is why research is key. No matter who advises you.
“Even though the source may come as trusted, we still encourage individuals to do their research to get the background information on a company,” Garcia said.
“I still don’t know that I could have identified it as a Ponzi scheme because there was paperwork and it looked, everything was looking so much like a statement that you get from your bank,” Schupp said.
Dr. Schupp lost more than $1 million in savings. She said she learned a lesson, but it trying to stay positive.
“Being burned made me more careful.” She said. “But I don’t think that he represents the majority of people in this world.”
Dan Wise was sentenced to 35 years in jail and has been ordered to pay more than $67 million dollars in restitution to his clients.