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Indiana sets sights on assets of now-deceased Ponzi schemer

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Indiana’s Secretary of State has filed a lawsuit to freeze the assets of an alleged Ponzi schemer. The suit, filed last week in Howard County Superior Court, aims to lasso those assets in order to obtain restitution for those defrauded by Richard Schwartz, who operated RAS & Associates, a Kokomo, Ind., firm that offered insurance products, annuities and general wealth management advice.

“My team is working to seize Schwartz’s $13-million life insurance policy and other assets in an effort to return his ill-gotten gains to investors,” said Connie Lawson, Indiana’s Secretary of State, in a statement. “I believe any money left in his estate should go to his victims first.”

Scattered across the country, those victims may include former NFL athletes, though none were named in the lawsuit, according to a report from the Associated Press. However, a report on disclosed that former Seattle Seahawks quarterback David Krieg had sued Schwartz for negligence and fraud, alleging that Schwartz asked him to liquidate his existing life insurance policy and buy a $14 million contract with New York Life.

Indiana began investing Schwartz in July after receiving numerous complaints when Schwartz failed to pay. The statement from the Indiana Secretary of State noted that in August, Schwartz “ended his life.”

Investors lost between $5 million to $10 million when Schwartz allegedly convinced clients to liquidate their insurance holdings and invest in securities with higher interest rates. However, those securities turned out to be bogus, and Schwartz instead used the money to fund his “lavish lifestyle” and business expenses. In typical Ponzi-scheme fashion, Schwartz used some of the funds obtained from new clients to pay interest payments to existing clients.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office also took legal action to be party to the private lawsuit brought by private investors against Schwartz. It also seconded the request to freeze Schwartz’s assets.

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