A Huntersville man was sentenced to four years and two months in prison on Tuesday for ripping off investors.
Robert Louis Winecoff, 37, coaxed people to put money into fake investment instruments and products. He spent the money on personal airline flights and at hotels, gas stations and retail stores, court records show. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Charlotte in March to wire fraud.
Winecoff told his victims he was the principal of Winecoff Financial Consulting Group, according to court documents. He marketed his bogus investment products through a website associated with the firm, www.wfcgnc.com.
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Over the 11-month scheme, about a dozen investors from several countries gave Winecoff a total of about $343,000, prosecutors said. He also made cash withdrawals totaling nearly $308,000 from the account to which victims wired their money, court records show.
Winecoff and unnamed “recruiters” told the victims their money would be used to obtain a financial instrument known as a “standby letter of credit” that would result in large payouts within a month. Winecoff never paid anything to his victims and failed to return their principal when requested.
Leading the investigation were the N.C. Secretary of State’s securities division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.