Yesterday I read a horrifying local story about Edward Matthes, a former financial advisor for Mutual of Omaha who stole at least $2.6 million from his clients. According to the Information in the federal case, Matthes carried on his fraud between 2013 and 2019. SIX YEARS!!!!
He swindled at least 23 clients. He’d convince them to bring investment accounts over to Mutual of Omaha. Funds were transferred from their old accounts to Matthes, who never invested the money for them. Instead, he put it in his own bank account and spent it.
Matthes got away with it because he created phony account statements that showed client balances and he had meetings with them about their “investments.”
So how could consumers have avoided being defrauded like this? Or at the very least catching the fraud early to a) have a better chance of getting their money back, and b) stop this loser from doing the same thing to others.
- Never send your funds to an individual investment advisor or insurance agent. Always send the funds directly to the company it is supposed to be invested with.
- Once your funds are invested, go online to the company you’re investing with and get a login that you can use to view your account. In this case, if clients had done this, they would have seen immediately that they had no accounts with Mutual of Omaha.
- Look carefully at any documents provided to you by the investment advisor. I bet there were some signs on these “account statements” that Matthes provided to his clients that could have tipped them off that they were phony.
Here are some tips that can help you avoid other investment scams such as Ponzi schemes. Be careful! There are plenty of shady people who are trying to take your life savings from you.