Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Joined Nov 11, 2007
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Amish investor charged with defrauding his community of millions of dollars

Members of the Amish community traditionally have settled their scores independent of secular society, but the federal legal system will decide the fate of Monroe Beachy, 77, of Sugarcreek, Holmes County.

Beachy was charged (pdf)Wednesday with defrauding thousands of his fellow Amish farmers, carpenters and neighbors of tens of millions of dollars in an alleged Ponzi scheme that has earned Beachy a nickname: The Amish Bernie Madoff.

Beachy, who has a 10th-grade education, acquired much of his financial knowledge from classes at H&R Block. He declared bankruptcy in 2010. He faces one count of mail fraud, and was expected to surrender to federal authorities by Friday.

U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. today in Cleveland to detail the charges.

Since 1990, Beachy raised an estimated $33 million from more than 2,600 investors — many of them fellow members of the Amish community who reside in this pastoral locale about a two-hour drive south of Cleveland.

When the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Beachy with fraud in February, the agency said he had lost nearly half of his investors’ money.

Beachy had assured his investors that their money was safe, earning higher returns than banks in U.S. government securities, and he issued periodic statements that government officials allege were fictitious.

In reality, Beachy had lost nearly all of his investors’ money by 1998 in speculative investments such as stocks, mutual funds and junk bonds, officials said. But he continued to solicit investments from new investors, which he used to repay earlier investors — a so-called Ponzi scheme similar to that operated by the infamous Bernard Madoff, which lost an estimated $18 billion in 2009, according to investigators. It was the largest loss in history and earned Madoff a sentence of 150 years in prison.

Since Beachy’s bankruptcy filing, Sugarcreek’s Amish community has been in turmoil, with many victims upset at being dragged into court rather than resolving the case among the Plain People themselves.

Some of Beachy’s creditors argue that forcing them to pursue claims through the court would be a violation of their religious freedom.


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  4. Judith Harders

    I’m really quite surprised that anyone would have the opportunity to embezzle money from the Amish community in that fashion. They are largely separate from the contemporary monetary structure, reserving their investments for land, livestock, and other similar capital goods. It also must hurt that this thievery has come from one of their own. Very sad.

    • Orlinda Orlinda

      You have a very good point there? Could be a false alleagations, only time will tell. There are always two sides to a story. And nothing is really black or white, there is greyness in between as an old idiom.

      Food for thought.

    • Greenwood Bob

      If you would have either read the article, or been capable of comprehending what it said, you would have known that the accused is a member of that same Amish community. Just as Bernie primarily swindled his own Jewish community, Monroe here was a member of the Amish community, and used his place of trust with their society to swindle his community.

  5. David MacGuire

    Greed and crime are just as common amongst the Amish as any other group. I have known Amish to teat animals with unbelieveable cruelty, especially in the many puppy mills they operate. They use chemical fertilisers and pesticides to raise crops and then sell the produce as organic. They sub out quilt production to China and Mennonites who use machines. They have illegal aliens working in sweatshops to produce ‘hand-made’ sheds and mantelshelves and furniture. Oh, and many of them take the winter off from being Amish and go to Florida and behave like everyone else.

    • scott e eck

      Who is your next target.Outside of puppy mills what kind of proof do you have that these gentle people are capable of the charges you have posted here.Even the horrible practice of puppy mills.What percentile of Amish are guilty of these charges?I am not attacking you.I have never heard of these charges before.These people can’t defend themselves so friends of the Amish need to speak out!

  6. wtf?

    totally caught unaware by the time factor of the internets. the views explode. sep 15 is a fucking lifetime ago. its like a time capsule. hilarious. and.. fuck the amish. fucked up inbreed horsekicked lunatic snake oily retards.

  7. Three Bears

    Just goes to show, no one is perfect, and power corrupts if notkept in check……but then….since when is such behavior a news flash!!

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  9. An American

    It says he was charged with defrauding investors. Don’t we still go by innocent until proven guilty??? Where is the word “alleged”? The article is written as if he was convicted already. Maybe he is guilty but in America we give people a chance to defend themselves.

    • Weirdo Jay

      Innocent until seen on TV or in the news as guilty.

    • Jason

      he wasn’t allegedly charged he was charged he allegedly commited the crime, but he was definately charged with the crime and to Judith the amish in my area will take money anywhere they can get it they are as opportunistic as anyone when it comes to padding their wallets

  10. Wayne

    I was Amish as a boy and am no more. I lived in the Sugarcreek area am 55 years old now and know quite well what is going own among the Amish.What David MacGuire has said is not even close to truth. I own a company that builds mini storage barns and would invite anyone to come look and inquire about our employees and employment practices. I have never and and would never hire anyone illegal at any of my companies.
    What happened with Mr.Beachy was not intended to fail I believe, however as the economy turned into recession, he lost money in the account and than falsified statements hoping it would turn around and it did not. I also am not aware that he ever solicited funds, but it was a known understanding in the area that it was a reasonable place to invest money rather than in savings accounts. So the word spread and this account grew over the years into millions. I have never invested with Mr. Beachy myself but used to know him as a area man. I believe he did wrong and am not justifying what happened,I must say I am surprised how many people invested with him for Mr. Beachy was never a licensed,informed investor.

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  12. Indie

    Hamish use money? I thought they only used gold and silver coins like our local luddites.

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