The Ottumwa Courier

News in brief

November 8, 2013

'Iowa Fraud Fighters' at Honey Creek

MORAVIA — Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart has announced that the Iowa Insurance Division (IID) is bringing the statewide “Iowa Fraud Fighters — Shield Your Savings” public education program to Honey Creek Resort in Moravia on Nov. 21. The program will educate and empower Iowans to combat and report investment and insurance fraud.

Complimentary bus transportation will be provided from 10 Iowa county seats, including Fairfield, Keosauqua, Bloomfield, Sigourney, Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Albia, Chariton, Corydon and Centerville. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and the luncheon and program runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. Informational booths staffed by agency representatives, as well as forum assistance providers Milestones Area Agency on Aging and AARP, will be open until 2 p.m.

To RSVP for bussing, the presentation and complimentary luncheon, call toll-free at 866-559-7114 or visit IowaFraudFighters.gov by Nov. 18.

“Con artists are targeting Americans age 60 and older, swindling more than 5 million Americans out of almost $3 billion each year,” said Gerhart. “Unfortunately, many smart Iowans have fallen victim to these very slick and sophisticated investment scammers, and some have lost their entire life savings.”

Martha-Jo Ennis, a retired school teacher from Marion, said she never understood how anyone could fall for an investment scheme until it happened to her — and she lost her retirement savings and the money she invested from the sale of her family farm.

According to Linn County District Court records, Ennis was one of numerous Iowa victims who lost millions of dollars in a Ponzi-type scheme orchestrated by Noah Aulwes, former owner of Covenant Advisors of Cedar Rapids. Aulwes plead guilty last year to theft in the first degree, securities fraud and money laundering and received a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Victim impact statements read during the hearing stated Aulwes preyed on retirees, using charm and Christianity to get a foot in the door and gain victims’ trust.

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