When Bernie Madoff went down for his ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors seized everything from the Wall Street swindler’s $7 million Manhattan condo to the fur coat off his wife’s back in order to pay back victims. In the case of Madoff’s Amish counterpart, Monroe Beachy, the government will be lucky if they can hock a horse and some pitchforks.
Last week, the Sugarcreek investor and former Scene cover boy pleaded guilty in federal court. Rather than face a trial, the 78-year-old Beachy copped to defrauding more than 2,700 investors of almost $16 million over 20 years. A judge will sentence him at the end of the month; his lawyer has already told the court he plans to plea for leniency considering the defendant’s age.
According to Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the sentencing guidelines for mail fraud run from 151 to 188 months in prison. “Obviously, the judge can depart downward based on issues like age and health,” he says. “But I don’t think we’ve determined what we are going to ask for at this point.”
The bummer for Beachy’s victims — many of them fellow Amish — is that there doesn’t appear to be any money left over from the scam to make things right. Beachy wasn’t out stockpiling roadsters, weekending in Cabo San Lucas, or gifting the lasses of Holmes County with botox injections. The money is apparently down the toilet. Regardless, Tobin says, the government will seek a judgment against the investor — just in case his jailhouse bingo career skyrockets.
“Typically what happens in the case, the money’s gone, but you still seek to get the judgment in case someone wins the lottery or some other windfall, but that’s always the challenge in these types of cases.”