From Illinois Business Journal news services
EAST ST. LOUIS – A woman from the Netherlands was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison, ordered to pay restitution, and to forfeit $3.2 million gained by defrauding residents in an elaborate, worldwide investment scheme, Stephen R. Wigginton, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today.
Heintina Roor-Potman, also known as Heleen Potman, 52, was sentenced on Sept. 30, following her guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture.
The violations took place between 1998 and September, 2010, in the Southern District of Illinois and elsewhere.
“My office is very aggressive in prosecuting scammers wherever we find them. Whether you steal from folks with a gun or you steal from them with a telephone and a computer, we will prosecute you.” Wigginton said in a statement.
At her guilty plea, Potman admitted that she and her ex-husband, Pieter Roor, also known as Pedro Dispenza, operated a series of fraudulent on-line investment schemes.
The schemes were offered to on-line consumers as high-yield investment opportunities. These on-line investment schemes were run using multiple names.
As investors learned their investments were not being returned, the “investment program” would close and reopen under another name. Thousands of investors sent Roor and Potman no less than $3.2 million, Wigginton said. A multi-national investigation showed that Roor and Potman routed investors’ money all over the globe. The couple utilized on-line currency accounts from eGold and eBullion as well as bank accounts in Latvia, Germany, Netherlands, Great Britain, the United States, Belize and Egypt.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service with extensive cooperation with the Dutch FOID. The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Hudson.
Wigginton, in his release, used an oft-repeated warning.
“To consumers – please follow this simple advice: If a scheme to get rich seems too good to be true, then it is. Scammers prey upon people in need. Please do not become a victim.”