Back in February, we looked at four major financial schemes which Amish had fallen victim to since 2008. A principal figure in one of those schemes has now been ordered to pay restitution.

One thing to mention up front: articles on this are describing Earl D. Miller as “Amish” (of course, that’s a catchier and more concise headline than “formerly Amish” or “Amish-raised”).

However, it has previously been stated that “his family had been Amish” (which could mean he was a former church member, or more likely simply born Amish but never joined the church, perhaps because his family left when he was a child), and that he has “Amish heritage“.

“Amish heritage” is a type of shorthand used to make an association with the Amish. If you see this, it usually means someone who was Amish-raised, or even simply had Amish ancestors – even distant ones – but has no membership in an Amish church today.

With that out of the way, here’s what Earl D. Miller of Amish heritage did – and what the courts now have ordered him to do to make right by his former clients:

A man who authorities said took advantage of his Amish heritage to recruit novice investors into a fraudulent scheme has been ordered to pay $5.2 million, most of it to his clients.

Indiana resident Earl Miller’s 72 investors lost more than $4.1 million when his investments failed, according to a complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015. He had encouraged people to put their retirement savings into his fund, which he had no experience in managing, by advertising “double digit annual returns” and promising a fixed-rate return of 8 percent to 12 percent per year, investigators said.

Touting his Amish heritage, Miller advertised in Amish newspapers and arranged community meetings with Amish families to attract inexperienced investors, the SEC said.

Most of Miller’s investors were from Amish communities in Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Some people gave Miller their life savings, in another example of “affinity fraud” (which has included other notable examples such as the Sensenig financial scheme in Pennsylvania, and the A&M Investments case in Ohio).

Will Miller make the payments in full? I am doubtful, especially since he allegedly took $1 million of the funds for his personal and business use.

Image credit: grego1402/flickr

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