UPDATE: Top Federal Prosecutor Describes Edward L. Moskop As ‘Financial Predator’; Judge Imposes Maximum Prison Term On Southern Illinois Swindler; St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reports Woman Who Survived Nazi Labor Camp Was Among The Victims

Recidivist huckster Edward L. Moskop was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge William Stiehl of the Southern District of Illinois.

Among the victims of his fraud scheme was an 85-year-old woman who survived a Nazi labor camp during World War II, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

At Moskop’s sentencing hearing, the district’s top federal prosecutor addressed the judge and asked him to impose the maximum prison term permitted under the facts of the case. Stiehl imposed the maximum after hearing from the defense, the prosecution team and the victims, including the labor-camp survivor.

“Mr. Moskop is a financial predator,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton of the Southern District of Illinois. “He preyed on hardworking citizens who toiled for years at their jobs in order to save for their retirement. Instead, many of the victims lost everything. Moskop imposed a financial death sentence on many of these victims.”

Court records suggest that Moskop, 64, of Belleville, Ill., also stole from the labor-camp survivor’s elderly husband. In November 2010, the SEC described two of the victims of the scheme as an 88-year old man and his 84-year-old wife who’d come to the United States from Poland in 1949 and had been systematically ripped off by Moskop since 1989.

Moskop’s long-running investment scheme was exposed in part by the elderly couple’s daughter, according to court filings. Other victims included Moskop’s own relatives, customers referred by word-of-mouth and the local VFW post.

“This conduct is reprehensible and Moskop deserved the lengthy prison sentence imposed by the court,” Wigginton said.

The FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the State of Illinois Securities Department and the SEC helped unmask the scheme, which involved more than $2.4 million gathered from 26 victims, prosecutors said.

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