Lindeen seeking more information from potential Montana victims
HELENA, Mont. – A Helena judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a Great Falls man alleged to have operated a foreign currency scheme that involves more than 400 people across the U.S. and Canada – including nearly 200 in Montana.
Richard Converse, of Great Falls, allegedly recruited people to invest in a foreign currency program on the promise the foreign currency will soon soar in value, according to documents filed in the case by the Office of Montana Securities Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen. The temporary restraining order, issued last week by Helena District Judge James Reynolds, applied to both Converse and his business, DC Tax Services, Inc., to prevent him from accepting more investors.
Investors paid him money allegedly with the belief they were buying the Vietnamese currency, called the Dong, and the currency of Iraq, called the Dinar. Both are worth very little. Investors buy into the currency program now with the promise that both will soon be revalued and worth much more, making investors rich overnight.
Victims were allegedly told they were buying the currency through a bank and were asked to fill out detailed paperwork imprinted with the name of a reputable financial services firm, according to documents filed in the case. That paperwork asked for the victim’s name, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information that could be used to steal the person’s identity. The form requested similar information for the victim’s beneficiary.
Lindeen’s office has since learned that no major financial services company was involved in the transaction and the forms victims submitted were evidently fake.
The Better Business Bureau listed foreign currency scams, including the Dong and Dinar scams, among its Top 10 Scams of 2014.
In these schemes, investors are not typically bilked for large sums of money; they may even take possession of paper currency and own the currency they bought. But it is nearly worthless and will likely remain so for a long time. Contrary to the claims made by those soliciting funds, neither the Dong nor the Dinar is on the brink of being “revalued.” Converse told Securities officials he believes both the Dong and the Dinar will be revalued this month.
If you or someone you know invested in the scheme, Lindeen’s office suggests you place a fraud alert with the three credit reporting companies, get a free copy of your credit report, and place a freeze on your credit files so no one can access them without your permission.
Lindeen is asking potential Montana victims to contact her office at 1-800-332-6148 if they believe they may have been caught by the scheme.