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Alpine businessman Claud 'Rick' Koerber carries on despite Ponzi scheme charges

He denies allegations and has relaunched economic project

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  • JimTaggart
    March 11, 2010 4:07 a.m.

    I heard one of his cronies pitch me the basic concept of what they did and I agree with the thoughts that many of the investors are guilty of the same things they are condemning Rick for. Lying to borrow money from a FDIC insured lending institution is a big crime. Stating income, claiming owner occupancy, padding funds in order to qualify for mortgages that weren't obtained honestly... I have no idea who this Rick guy is and have only heard about him a couple times since I don't live in Utah so I don't know what his intentions were.

    Lastly, so many people here mention that their lives were 'ruined' by these financial losses. The earthquake survivors in Haiti and Chile don't even whine so loudly about the loss of life and property. It's money, not life. It's time to remember that those two are not the same.

  • Ellis Wyatt
    March 9, 2010 10:42 a.m.

    Wow, I should wake up before I do math.

    My radio spot ran twice a day for a week meaning I bought 10 spots, not two. Each costing $120. Redoing the math for $120 radio spots x 480 spots = $57,600 a month. I still think that's likely to be profitable especially including how even having a radio show is good P.R. and advertising.

  • Ellis Wyatt
    March 9, 2010 8:44 a.m.

    The seminar that cost me the most was a personal coaching program. It's been a while so I don't remember the specifics, but I paid somewhere around $4,000 for the course. 40 others were there too who all paid the $4,000 tuition. Rick lectured for like 16 hours with breaks for lunch and dinner (not provided). That was day one. Day two was a month later and was another 16 hours. Aside from that there were two or three conference calls in following months that lasted for an hour each.

    Rick did three intensive courses like this. $4,000 each for 120 people (40x3) equals $480,000. Not bad for ~40 hours of his time. What is that $10,000 an hour? Sure he provided the classroom (which had other purposes on regular days) and advertised for the program by sending out emails. Had a few staff members assisting. Paid power and heat bills.

    I don't get it. Are you all just haters? The more I calculate what I know about this guy, the more sense his side of the story makes. He looks like a legitimate businessman to me.

  • Ellis Wyatt
    March 9, 2010 8:36 a.m.

    @Huh: LOL!
    Indeed, no one can say for sure what it cost him to get that revenue from me. Here's what I know. I paid $1,200 for a radio spot that ran twice a day for a week. His show's producer spent 30 minutes with me putting it together and almost no time to put it in its lineup along with dozens of other radio spots. I'm not positive that the other spots paid as well as I did, but with four advertising spots run during each of six to seven commercial breaks 20 days a month.

    You do the math and determine the likelihood of profit. Although it isn't illegal to lose money in business ventures, it is illegal to never intend to profit and only borrow money to propagate the illusion. 4 spots, six times daily, 20 days a month= 480 spots. Cut the total spots in half to be conservative, 240 spots at $600 each (I had two) totals $144,000. If he charged everyone the same as me including his other companies that advertised, that's $288,000 a month.

  • Huh
    March 8, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    @Ellis Wyatt: The $7200 he received from you was revenue, not profit. To assume profit would be to say that what he paid for the radio and to put on his seminars was less than what he got for it. Who can say that for sure?

  • Ellis Wyatt
    Feb. 24, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    I don't know everything about this guy; but I know for a fact he made profit some of the time. I paid $1,200 to advertise on his radio show and around $6,000 in educational courses/seminars.

    That money for me was well spent as I think I got more value out of it than I put into it. I made around $10k in sales directly from the radio spots and I believe I'll make millions over the course of my life from the invaluable lessons I learned from his paid seminars/coaching.

    This isn't an endorsement of Rick, it's a witness that he made a profit at least some of the time. $7,200 from me and I was only around the group for about a year. That's just a drop in a $100M bucket, but I heard the group had like 10k people as members... I'm just sayin'...

  • AntiMob
    Feb. 24, 2010 9:33 a.m.

    Saw It Coming, you have absolutely no proof to back up what you are saying. All if it is based off of hearsay and speculation. If you have real evidence, then show it, otherwise, you're just part of an angry mob with nothing better to do.

  • Saw it coming
    Feb. 16, 2010 1:35 p.m.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. But Rick was telling people that their money was going to be used in a certain way and that it would generate income.

    Instead, he used the money to live a profligate lifestyle and used revenues generated by new entrants to pay the obligations.

    He had an obligation to be honest with everyone with whom he was contracting. He wasn't and he still refuses to be honest about his life and his businesses. He pretends he is being honest and forthright - but he is spreading half-truths. Maybe he believes them - but it isn't true.

  • Mr. KC
    Feb. 8, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    I'm hearing a bunch of pathetic sounding comments here. Did everyone really think the market would go up forever. People were irresponsible, risked more than they could afford, and are now acting like whinny children who just had their ice cream fall off the cone onto the ground. The way I see it, if Rick was really guilty he would already be in jail, but the way things are turning out it looks like they are really stretching evidence to convict an innocent businessman.
    If any of us ever make any money, you can bet that they'll be trying to convict you of one thing or a other.

  • maybe you should stand trial...
    Feb. 4, 2010 10:15 a.m.

    Most of the people who invested with Rick borrowed money that they lied to get. I think that everyone who invested should stand trial and have to prove that they did not lie, cheat, or steal to get the money they invested. Or they need to shut up, quit crying, and move on.
    For the people who lost their life savings or the people that could afford "the borrowed money" without lying, you were duped by a very good salesman. So I have mixed feelings regarding your case. But why would you give up enough money that if lost, would ruin you? Maybe you needed to learn a lesson.
    If this guy was really buying real estate, wouldn't some of the money still be tied up? That's what I don't understand (if he did what he said). It looks like a mixture of subsidizing losses with the end resulting in a ponzi scheme. The guy thought he could pull out of this with his wits, how does that saying go...good intentions paved a road somewhere.


  • Evidence?
    Feb. 4, 2010 8:03 a.m.

    You all have good points, on both sides of the equation.

    The problem for me comes in the lack of tangible evidence being cited - at all. Burn him at the stake if he's guilty, that's fine. But everyone is so intent on a witch hunt to protect the little guy while there's no verifiable evidence as the basis of your opinions. (Obviously, this doesn't apply to EVERYONE.)

    For my part, let's wait to see what evidence is presented at the trial, THEN make a decision based on reasonable evidence, not emotional vomit that we're convinced is evident.

    I just pray that our judicial system is based on verifiable, reasonable evidence. I would hope you'd ask the same natural right if you were ever on trial, whether you deserved to be or not.

  • "Not all his fault"???
    Jan. 31, 2010 4:46 a.m.

    In response to this comment:

    "We have all heard it right? 3% a month? Promises promises and all he has done is take everyones money and forget to pay the 3%/month that he owes everyone. No harm in that right? "It is not all his fault though. People need to get a clue when you get approached with these promises of obscene profits."

    Yes, the greedy idiots who trusted this snake oil salesman were IDIOTS to trust this obvious liar (I can say that because I heard the pitch early on and knew that it was a ponzi scheme INSTANTLY), BUT that does NOT make it their "fault." A woman who dresses in sexy clothes does NOT ask to be molested. An idiot who trusts a crook with his money is NOT asking him to make ponzi payments with it. This crime is the "fault" of one person and one person only: The crook.

  • Any news in this story?
    Jan. 31, 2010 4:39 a.m.

    Is it just me or is there practically no new information in this somewhat lengthy story? This repeated a few facts that have been publicaly available for months and allowed the Great Spewer of Words to (once again) rapid-fire his usual round of excuses. Check your time-line, Rick. Your ponzi scheme fell apart more than a YEAR before the real-estate and financial melt-down. It fell apart because you were running out of useful idiots in Utah County to rob.

  • Saw it coming
    Jan. 29, 2010 1:10 p.m.

    When Rick explained his business to me before the big crash I tried to explain to him that it was a Ponzi scheme.

    The only way his business would survive (the way he was running it) was to continue to attract new participants.

    His vision didn't allow for my perspective.

    Rick tries to come across as a moral winner. He cheated on his first wife (with his current wife) and is trying to teach others how to live a principle-based life. Sorry - I don't buy it.

  • Bill Fowler
    Jan. 29, 2010 8:47 a.m.

    I agree with the earlier writer, the government runs the biggest ponzi scheme there is. Just look at their income tax ponzi scheme in addition to social security and medicare.

  • Bill Fowler
    Jan. 29, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    I find this interesting. No one thought is was a Ponzi scheme when they were getting paid 3% for all those years. The market takes a dive the investments are lost and everyone starts crying. It is called an investment. There are risks involved. Those who invested should take accountability for their choice and decisions. Quit being victims. My money was lost just like everyone else. Quit crying and figure out a way to make it back.

  • @So Proud
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    Hey Rick, er, I mean So Proud

    No one is saying that we should do away with juries, judges, and defense attorneys or that a failing business should be crimianl.

    However, you need to read the indictment. Rick's not being indicted for running a failing business. He's being indicted for tax evasion and fraud (that's lying and stealing).

    I for one can't wait until he's on trail. Once the truth comes out a jury won't have a problem sending Koerber to jail for the rest of his natural life.

  • So proud
    Jan. 28, 2010 2:55 p.m.

    I am so proud to live in a time when people who post on discussion boards think we should just do away with juries, and judges, and defense attorneys. I figure, if all that is said in these comments are true, lets just let the prosecutors allegations be facts, sentence this guy to the 240 years and get on to the next criminal they have in their sights.

    Also, it is so heartening to know that if someone has a business venture that fails (if that is what happened in this case) that they are to be assumed a criminal.

    Thank God none of you have a hand in the justice system, or at least I should pray.

    If he's guilty, let him pay. If he's innocent let him walk. As a citizen I say, let him stand trial. As a reader of the news I say, if I am ever on trial for anything I hope and pray none of you (well with a few exceptions) are on the jury.

  • Re: Captive Capitalist
    Jan. 27, 2010 8:23 p.m.

    Thanks to the author of "Captive Capitalist" above--one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.

    Laugh out-loud funny!

    It even caused me to wake up and turn my brain on!

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 27, 2010 4:20 p.m.

    what happend today in court? anything?

  • salty dog
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    if this is federal court than he will probably only have probation like the Ross lady in Davis School district infamy and the Native american grave robbers in Blanding

  • Not Rick
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    So what value has Rick actually produced? Can anyone name a prodcut or service that actually worked?

    Losing $100 million of other people's money is what politicians do. He should run for office. He'd fit in great in the Obama administration.

  • Proverb
    Jan. 27, 2010 2:40 p.m.

    A follow up to my "Greed" post.

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

  • Greed
    Jan. 27, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    This guy will get his in court if found guilty.

    All the greedy people who tried to make a bunch of money off smoke and mirrors?

    I guess you got yours as well.

    When will you prideful greedy people ever learn.

    Caveat emptor!!

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 27, 2010 1:37 p.m.

    The fact remains that Mr. Koerber owes people money and needs to repay. Too many lives have been ruined and some will live the remainder or their lives in extreme hardship. I don't think selling one or two exotic cars counts as hardship.

  • dbf
    Jan. 27, 2010 1:09 p.m.

    There are always at least two greedy people in a scam, the scammer and the person willing to give them money on a promise of getting rich. Buyer beware!! True words of wisdom.

  • Here is a tip
    Jan. 27, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    When you hear the following:

    "3%/month return on your investment"

    "bridge loans"

    "we usually don't accept investments below $100K (or whatever amount) but since you know (me or friend x) we will make an exception for you to invest"

    "we have closed investments but will make an exception for you"

    "if the loan fails we take the asset, liquidate it and give the investors the money"

    "this is really a no lose investment"

    These are the signs of a ponzi scheme. Pick the product whether it be real estate or whatever and put the these words around it. Scams.

    You are in one and you don't believe me?

    Go ask for your investment back IN FULL and see what they tell you.

    You will quickly find out they are robbing peter to pay paul.

    Run don't walk away from this stuff and it is all over the Wasatch Front and everyone thinks it can't be them that gets victimized.

    If you choose to ignore the facts that I have laid out then you will be a victim of your own pride that is telling you right now that your are too smart to be duped.



  • Claud troubles
    Jan. 27, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    Claud's problems are:
    Claiming high rates of return.
    Not declaring losses in a timely manner.
    Lavish spending on personal property.

    Those issues have nothing at all to do with good old American Capitalism.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 27, 2010 11:11 a.m.

    There are people who hold promissory notes signed by Mr Koerber, many for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hope he plans to repay his debt to these individuals with proceeds from his current and future enterpises.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 27, 2010 10:41 a.m.

    He can blame liberals. That always seems to work in Utah.

  • The State
    Jan. 27, 2010 10:07 a.m.

    The government is not on trial here, but this man is. Blaming the government is his only defense. Someone repentant would admit guilt and try and make things right.

    This man is such a good deceiver he has deceived himself into believing that taking investors money and losing it sometimes happens when the economy drops off. So, if this is not a ponzi scheme, where did all the money go? A person can't spend all this money on cars, homes,trips, friends cars, friends houses, other businesses, and expensive adoptions. Where is the money? Most of it must have paid the 3% ponzi return.

    I know people who put money into this man's quagmire after his equity mill was shut down, not knowing it was shut down. Where did that money go? They would certainly like it back.

    I know people who lost their entire life's savings thinking their investment were safe because real estate was backing it.

    I know people who believe this man is innocent and I know people who can see through the lies.

    Let's get on with the trial!

  • Hind Site
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:52 a.m.

    Hind Site is 20/20. How can someone in good conscience who burned through $120 million and have nothing to show for it believe he did nothing wrong.

    This man is the smoothest of smooth. You won't find a nicer, friendlier, more intelligent, talented thinker and orating deceiver. A business man he is not.

    Whether his intentions in the beginning were right or wrong, what has resulted is tragic. He destroyed my neighborhood and has bankrupted the lives of many. Shame on us for thinking this man had a better mouse trap. Shame on him for creating a false mouse trap.

  • @Anonymous | 7:30 a.m.
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    You are correct, however, as our "Free Capitalist" friend is facing federal charges, he will be sent to a federal prison and not a state prison.

  • Ponzi Schemes
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:35 a.m.

    I live in Alpine just off Healy Boulevard. I wonder when they are going to come and get my neighbor who has been running a real estate Ponzi scheme?

    We have all heard it right? 3% a month? Promises promises and all he has done is take everyones money and forget to pay the 3%/month that he owes everyone.

    No harm in that right?

    It is not all his fault though. People need to get a clue when you get approached with these promises of obscene profits.

  • Justice
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:18 a.m.

    This is NOT a case of duck syndrome. No criminal case is. If the guy says he didn't do it, it's up to the Gov't to prove it. And if they can't, he's NOT GUILTY. So look to the Govt's actions and discern their motives: if their case is strong, they should respect the system, keep quiet, and prove up their accusations in court.

    Just put yourself in this guy's position; anyone can be accused by the Gov't of anything. That's why the Bill of Rights spends so much time on criminal issues, because we all deserve a fair trial.

    Let this guy get his.

  • Eddie
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:09 a.m.

    Would you buy used car from this guy?

  • Ernest T. Bass
    Jan. 27, 2010 7:57 a.m.

    He used the commitment pattern on me, I'm ready to write a check to him right now.

  • Bill
    Jan. 27, 2010 7:47 a.m.

    Who in their right mind would marry someone facing 200 years in jail?

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 27, 2010 7:30 a.m.

    FYI- The Utah State Prison is actually in Draper, Utah and not Bluffdale, Utah as one contributor stated.

  • Why?
    Jan. 27, 2010 7:26 a.m.

    Is the news still writing about this guy, and giving him the chance to preach his stuff?

  • Joe Blow to Rick
    Jan. 27, 2010 6:28 a.m.

    How much did you personally GAIN or LOSE in this "legitimate investment"?

    If others lost their money and you gained, that says it all.

    If you lost yours also, maybe you would be vindicated.

    Bottom line, did you profit from this venture or not?

  • Question?
    Jan. 27, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    Is this a case of a duck syndrome? If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it must be a duck!

  • Did I read this
    Jan. 27, 2010 5:36 a.m.

    right? He was divorced in November and now remarried -- and HE has the kids??? And with all of the investment money he attracted, he would have to be one of the greatest salesmen (or con-men) to come along in a very long time.

  • Pot calling kettle black
    Jan. 27, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    Aren't Social Security and Medicare the biggest Ponzi schemes in the world? Previous investors are paid off with the money of new investors...
    Why isn't the US attorney's office prosecuting Federal elected officials for running multi-Billion dollar Ponzi schemes? Hypocrits.

  • Captive Capitalist
    Jan. 27, 2010 1:06 a.m.

    I'm afraid if the truth truly does come out Mr. Koerber will spend some time in Bluffdale. However, as convincing and charismatic as he is, he will probably profit starting the "Captive Capitalist Project". As the Captive Capitalist, he will establish the principles of prison prosperity (i.e. faith begins with self-interest, people are assets etc). On the side, he will establish Convicts Capital where he will convince twelve inmates to collect cigarettes from their friends with a promised return of a case a month. The money will be milled into equity like concrete court-side real estate. Of course using other young naive convict's credit scores (pay 'em a pack), lease options to buy,125% LTV, throw in a luxury car. This and more combined and a film venture cannonizing the father of cancer sticks, "marlboro man--the founding father and cancer capitalist." Of course his understanding of the maximum security laws of the prison will absolve him from any wrong doing and leave his multi-level friends dealing with the smokeless inmates fury. Just a bad business venture (rob peter to pay paul, llc) and immoral collective authority destroying his personal freedom and prosperity.