The Amish Bernie Madoff (Updated)

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Update:
Monroe Beachy, the Amish Bernie Madoff, wants to plead no contest based on religious grounds to charges that he defrauded investors out of millions of dollars, according to the AP.

Even his lawyer thinks that's a bad idea, and the government is likely to agree.

No details yet on what exactly the religious grounds involve, but we know for sure they don't involve cutting the beards and hair off jurors.

***

Once Bernie Madoff's historic and devastating Ponzi scheme was uncovered and dissected, you knew he'd be the touchpoint for writing about any future swindler. Specifically, it's very easy to call you "The (Blank) Bernie Madoff." Everyone knows who he is, no one knows (at least not yet) who you are, and nicknames are super catchy.

For example, 77-year-old Monroe Beachy, an Amish fella who took an estimated $33 million from 2,600 investors, many of them fellow Amish — yeah, you're going to be called The Amish Bernie Madoff.

That's just life.

According to reports and an indictment from the Feds, Beachy ran a Ponzi scheme on the backs of hard-working, not at all rich Amish folks who he gained access to through his position as treasurer of the Amish Helping Fund, a nonprofit where Amish folks worked for a better Amish life.

Except, not really, because Beachy took them for all they had while lying to them, producing fake investment papers and data on returns that were entirely fictitious. Instead, he had lost almost half that $33 million through shoddy investments of his own.

U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said Beachy's victims suffered an average loss of $13,000.

"While that might not seem like a lot of money to Wall Street, I can assure you it's a lot of money for these hard-working people," Dettelbach said.

[snip]

Included among his investors were widows and retirees, children, a Mennonite church, and a school cookbook fund, prosecutors said.

The Feds have him slated for one count of mail fraud. Satan has him slated for a very, very special seat after that.

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