Reno, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- A Reno man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after scamming eight people out of more than $1 million.
It's a growing trend nationwide and many are falling victim to it here in Nevada. Jack Schwartz,68, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on May 24, 2013. Schwartz cheated eight people out of more than $1 million for what were supposed to be alternative energy startup companies.
Instead, Schwartz, an attorney and non-registered securities representative took the money and used it to pay his mortgage and alimony to his ex-wife.
Secretary of State Ross Miller, says con artists are becoming more savvy when it comes to investment frauds, "We're very alarmed at this trend of energy related scams, it sounds like a legitimate investment and we often times find with the sexy new investments out there people are really attracted to them and so they need to be careful."
Schwartz offered a 20 percent interest return on their money and the victims invested anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000. Miller says the worst part is that it's not likely these people will ever see this money again.
Schwartz started his scam in November of 2005 and it lasted until July of 2008. According to investigators, Schwartz was able to hide the crimes by sending his investors K-1 tax forms and e-mails updating them on the venture capital companies.
Miller says, "If an investment sounds to good to be true, it may in fact be."When it comes to alternative energy investment frauds, Miller says Nevada is a prime spot to get caught up, "We are legitimately a jurisdiction where you are seeing a lot of attractive investment opportunities within clean energy."
Miller says investment fraud spreads across all socioeconomic boundaries and people who think they know better can still be sucked into how great the opportunity sounds with out doing their research, "I think the bottom line is that they to learn to check before they invest."
Judge Connie Steinheimer sentenced Schwartz to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay $1,005,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine.
Miller says this is not an isolated case and his office is working to catch others who are currently committing similar crimes.
Investor Advisory link: http://nvsos.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2754