An Amish man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison after poorly handling over $17 million worth of investments for the religious community in over 29 states.
Monroe L. Beachy, age 78, had promised investors within the community to handle and place their money into safe and secure investments, but instead put their money into extremely risky accounts, losing it all in the process.
Taking in investments within the Amish community that totaled over $17 million, this fraud is the biggest to rock the modest religious community in its long history.
“This was fraud on a massive scale,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. “This defendant took advantage of people’s trust in him and squandered the life savings of hundreds upon hundreds of families.”
U.S. District Judge Benita Pearson declined Beachy’s request to serve his sentence at home because of his age, instead ordering him to serve the full sentence sitting in an Ohio prison for the dishonesty that he showed to the over 2,700 families.
The Amish community is typically a very private group, which is why they originally tried to settle out of court and avoid the publicity. Unfortunately, a judge ruled against the idea, causing the matter to find its way to media outlets around the world.
The Associated Press reports:
Members of the Plain Community said Beachy had “accepted the counsel of his church” and wanted to dismiss the bankruptcy filing. They said he had “breached the trust of his fellow Amish and Mennonites by moving from the Plain Community’s environment of trust and mutual aid” and moving the matter to bankruptcy court.
Investigators told reporters that they couldn’t tell if the 78 year-old profited off of the investments, but that he certainly lived comfortably for the services that he provided as an investor for the Amish community.