Rip-Off Alert: Crook scams victims out of millions through real estate Ponzi scheme

CPA Dan Wise convinced many of his clients, friends, and family to invest money with him in order to profit from real estate investments. Investigators say he was running a Ponzi scheme. (KSNV file)

A certified public accountant is supposed to be trustworthy, but one man was anything but, pulling off a major rip-off that even duped a doctor.

The CPA convinced many of his clients, friends, and family to invest money with him in order to profit from real estate investments. Since many of them had trusted him for years, they did, and they lost.

One victim lost a million dollars.

Dr. Robin Schupp says Dan Wise was intelligent and attentive, which is why she trusted him with her money.

"Because I trusted this family friend, I invested with Dan Wise," said Dr. Schupp. "You can take your money out any time you want, you will always have access to your money, your funds are fluid."

Wise promised investors a 12-percent growth on their money and Schupp says she received many statements proving the growth.

"I took him for his word … which was a mistake, obviously," said Schupp.

Investigators say Wise was running a Ponzi scheme.

"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," said U.S. Postal Inspector Miranda Garcia.

Officials say 200 victims lost more than $67 million to Wise.

"Most of his victims were already clients … he had established the relationship of trust, so I don't think getting them to invest was all that difficult," said Garcia.

Postal inspectors say Wise ran a legitimate Los Angeles 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," said Garcia.

Which is why research is key, no matter who advises you.

Schupp lost more than $1 million in savings. She has learned a lesson, but also tries to keep a positive perspective.

"Being burned made me more careful ... well yes, sure. But I don't think that he represents the majority of people in this world," said Schupp.

Wise was sentenced to 35 years in jail and has been ordered to pay more than $67 million in restitution to his clients.

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