O.C. Man Sentenced to 6½ Years in Federal Prison for Running Three Investment Schemes that Cost Victims $7.4 Million
SANTA ANA, California – A Laguna Beach man was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison for his conviction in a wire fraud case for stealing $7.4 million from the victims of three separate investment fraud schemes.
Peter Heinrich Conrad Reinert, 63, was sentenced by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who also ordered him to pay $7,360,855 in restitution.
When he pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud, Reinert admitted running three separate schemes. In one scam run through the Irvine-based Fazer Technologies, Reinert 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.
Through the various false claims, Reinert induced victims to send him approximately $7.4 million. These victims came from around the nation and included farmers from Missouri.
As part of the schemes, to gain legitimacy with victims, Reinert falsely claimed to be a United States Secret Service agent and an intelligence officer in the United States Marines. Reinert’s “use of the trust the victims placed in Secret Service agents was particularly ironic since the Secret Service was the agency that investigated [Reinert] in the late 1990s for his prior federal felonies related to identity theft,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
“He makes up stories about who he is to get what he wants,” Judge Staton said in court today.
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.
Noting that Reinert made false statements about his German citizenship to a court official who was preparing a pre-sentence report, Judge Staton said his claim of American citizenship was “riddled with more holes than Swiss cheese.”
Reinert ran the schemes from 2010 through April 2015. Instead of using the victims’ money to develop the purported technologies, Reinert used the money to pay for various expenses, including luxury automobiles, sales commissions, purchases at Apple’s iTunes store, and wire transfers to an account in Poland.
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.