O.C. Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charge and Admits Defrauding Victims of Three Investment Schemes out of $6.8 Million
SANTA ANA, California – A Laguna Beach man has pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge and admitted that he stole $6.8 million from victims of three investment fraud schemes.
Peter Heinrich Conrad Reinert, 63, pleaded guilty Wednesday before United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton.
When he pleaded guilty, Reinert admitted running three separate schemes. In one scam, Reinert, who operated the Irvine-based Fazer Technologies, claimed he was developing, among other things, a product that could increase gas mileage for any car up to 150 miles per gallon. In another fraud, this one related to Global Encryption Imaging Corporation, Reinert claimed the company was developing, among other things, anti-counterfeiting technology to be used on state-issued identification documents. In the third scheme, Reinert told victims that another company he ran, Income from Waste Corporation, was developing a technology to convert used tires into oil.
As part of the schemes, to gain legitimacy with victims, Reinert falsely claimed to be a United States Secret Service agent and a United States Marine. Reinert also falsely claimed that companies such as Tesla and General Electric were interested in Fazer’s product – and that Tesla had stolen Fazer’s technology and used it in their cars.
Through various false claims, Reinert induced victims to send him approximately $6.8 million. The victims from these schemes came from around the nation and included farmers from Missouri.
Instead of spending the victims’ money to develop the purported technologies, Reinert used the money to pay for personal expenses, luxury automobiles, sales commissions, purchases at Apple’s iTunes store, and wire transfers to an account in Poland.
Judge Staton is scheduled to sentence Reinert on June 8, at which time he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
As part of his plea agreement, Reinert agreed to forfeit approximately $300,000 that the FBI had seized in 2015, as well as a 2009 Mercedes Benz S63 AMG and a 2011 Mercedes Benz.
The investigation into Reinert was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation. The Department of Defense, the United States Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the State Department, and the Laguna Beach Police Department provided substantial assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vibhav Mittal and Daniel Lim of the Santa Ana Branch Office.