ILLINOIS MAN INDICTED: Edward L. Moskop Accused In Alleged Multmillion-Dollar Ripoff Of Elderly Couple, Friends, Relatives — And The Local VFW Post
In a criminal case that flowed from an SEC civil action, an Illinois man has been indicted on mail-fraud and money-laundering charges in a case that alleges he stole from elderly clients and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.
Edward L. Moskop, 63, of Belleville, originally was charged in November 2010 by the SEC, which alleged he ripped off an 88-year-old man and the man’s 84-year old wife. At the SEC’s behest, a federal judge issued an asset freeze while the probe moved forward.
Federal prosecutors now say the scheme gathered at least $2.4 million over 20 years, with Moskop also ripping off friends, relatives, insurance clients, people referred to the scheme by attorneys and the VFW.
Moskop was a recidivist, prosecutors and regulators say. Records show he was banned from associating with National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) reps for ripping off clients more than 20 years ago. NASD was the predecessor agency to FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Regardless, Moskop continued to do business with other people’s money.
“Moskop had been barred from association with any member of the NASD and was no longer registered to act as a broker in the securities industry,” the FBI said. “It is alleged that from 1991 to 2010, Moskop persuaded customers to provide him with funds for investment, but instead of making the investment, he kept the funds for his own use.”
Moskop called the elderly couple he was ripping off his “premium clients,” and he was “siphoning away” their wealth and giving them “forged” documents, the SEC charged last year.
All in all, the SEC said, Moskop stole nearly $300,000 from the couple by making them believe they had accumulated nearly $600,000 in 16 different investments.
For 20 years, the couple never cashed out any of their holdings, choosing instead to let their profits roll over and believing their money not only was safe, but also was growing, the SEC said.
In September 2010, however, the couple noticed a renewal discrepancy — and contacted an investment company at which they believed they had holdings through Moskop. The company told them there were no accounts — and that the firm did not even handle the type of investment product the couple believed they had: certificates of deposit.
Alarmed, the couple contacted their daughter, who went to work unmasking the scheme. Moskop then manufactured stories on the fly, but the daughter demanded the money be returned to her parents.
Eventually Moskop sent checks for a small portion of the overall investments, but the checks bounced, the SEC said.
Alarmed again, the daughter did some more digging and found out that Moskop had ripped off her parents in other investments for even greater sums, the SEC said.
Moskop operated a firm known as Financial Services Moskop and Associates Inc