This week Robert Van Zandt, a tax preparer from the Bronx, New York, was sentenced to up to eleven years in prison, having previously pleaded guilty in November to operating a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme. His victims said they trusted him with their life savings for decades, but he stole $4.8 million from them, leaving them with nothing. He would take investments from new clients to pay back older clients and take money for himself, the defining elements of a Ponzi scheme.

Van Zandt told investors that he would put their money into real estate projects that were impossible to build. He promised high return rates on the investments he offered but later admitted to stealing from 29 investors. His victims each lost between $25,000 and $900,000. One of his victims called Van Zandt “the workingman’s Bernie Madoff.” A number of Van Zandt’s investors had known him for decades and had come to trust him tremendously.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that Van Zandt betrayed his clients’ trust and stole their life savings. He hopes that exposing Van Zandt’s crimes will prevent others from becoming victims in Van Zandt’s or similar schemes.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.