Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

November 8, 2013

'Iowa Fraud Fighters' coming to Honey Creek Resort

MORAVIA ­— Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart announced today that the Iowa Insurance Division is bringing the statewide “Iowa Fraud Fighters – Shield Your Savings” public education program to Honey Creek Resort in Moravia on Nov. 21. The program will educate and empower Iowans to combat and report investment and insurance fraud.

“Con artists are targeting Americans age 60 and older, swindling more than 5 million Americans out of almost $3 billion each year,” said Commissioner Gerhart. “Unfortunately, many smart Iowans have fallen victim to these very slick and sophisticated investment scammers, and some have lost their entire life savings.”

Martha-Jo Ennis, a retired school teacher from Marion, Iowa, said she never understood how anyone could fall for an investment scheme until it happened to her — and she lost her retirement savings and the money she invested from the sale of her family farm.

According to Linn County District Court records, Ennis was one of numerous Iowa victims who lost millions of dollars in a Ponzi-type scheme orchestrated by Noah Aulwes, former owner of Covenant Advisors of Cedar Rapids. Aulwes plead guilty last year to theft in the first degree, securities fraud and money laundering and received a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Victim impact statements read during the hearing stated Aulwes preyed on retirees, using charm and Christianity to get a foot in the door and gain victims’ trust.

“Iowans need to take the time to double-check investment offers and verify with our agency whether the adviser and offer are legitimate,” says Commissioner Gerhart. “Our goal is to educate Iowans on common scams and arm them with tools and tips to prevent fraud from happening to them. The Iowa Insurance Division and our partner government agencies are attacking this senior fraud problem at the forefront — we are coming to Honey Creek Resort to help southeast Iowans prevent fraud.”

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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