KAYSVILLE – A Kaysville man is facing federal charges after he reportedly defrauded people he knows by pretending to have high contacts in foreign governments that could make them a lot of money.
The scam had allegedly been going on from 2006 to just a few weeks ago. John Huber, the U.S. Attorney for Utah, says Robert Mouritsen approached his friends and neighbors to invest in something he called “The Project.” Huber says the scheme involved international transactions. The scam was extremely complicated, according to Huber.
“People were willing to give half million dollars to this person based on what were lies,” he says.
Huber says they’ve indicted Mouritsen for defrauding three people out of $500 thousand, but, they believe their suspect took a lot more money than that.
“We believe we can show $1.5 million that is traceable to this scheme to defraud,” he says.
Prosecutors say they could spot several red flags that they normally see when people are being targeted for fraud. For example, they say he would offer an extremely high return on investment. Plus, Mouritsen reportedly told victims not in look into the investments.
“We see, ‘This is an exclusive offer that you have to keep secret,” Huber says.
Despite how complicated the scheme sounds, Huber says Mouritsen was very good at convincing people it was real.
Huber adds, “People who are skilled fraudsters have an ability to get someone to believe what they’re saying. Sometimes, the more complicated the scheme, the more willing we are to believe it, as victims.”
Mouritsen was charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. A jury trial is slated to start November 4.
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