Orem man accused of taking millions from family, friends in Ponzi scheme

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  • goodgranny Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 7:24 p.m.

    Will somebody Pleeeeaaaaasssseeeee throw this guy in prison!!!! He's lied his way through 20 years worth of business dealings. Enough with the reprimands! It's time the State of Utah stopped him! For the sake of everybody, Utah, do your job!!!!!!!!

  • InspectorC Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 14, 2013 5:00 p.m.


    Why do people have to hyperventilate that this jerk is a Mormon from Utah??

    I'd bet anyone within the sound of my voice that the vast majority of scam artists in ROME, ITALY are Catholic.

    I'd bet a very large sum of money that virtually every dishonest, conniving criminal-businessman in RIYHAD, SAUDI ARABIA is Muslim.

    I'd bet my life on it that the vast majority of scam artists in TELAVIV, ISRAEL are Jewish.

    I'd bet my left arm and leg that pretty-much every businessperson conducting illegal or unethical business in BEIJING, CHINA is Tao or Bhuddist.

    Need I go on?!

    Please --I beg you-- get off of Utah Mormons backs when cases like this come up. Is it even necesary to mention a criminal's religious affiliation? Why don't we EVER seem to hear most criminals' or crooks' religion.... EXCEPT if they are Mormon??

    Get a life! 8^)

  • wine guy chicago, IL
    Aug. 13, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    I agree with many of the comments. Once someone throws religion at you, turn and run. As a church member, I am disgusted with how often this happens within our church.

  • dbrbmw Orem, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    Different Steve Heinz. Not the Steve Heinz that ran for Orem City Mayor or City Council.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    Not another Ponzi scheme in Utah Valley? How can this be. And he's a Mormon, too!

    Seems the biggest money makers in that county are multi-level marketers and Ponzi schemes...the former being a legal version of the latter. It's simply passing money up the line.

  • lledwards38 Canandaigua, NY
    Aug. 12, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    I am LDS. My husband and I have always made it a practice not to do business with friends, relatives, or other Church members. This article is a good example of why we have that policy.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2013 10:14 p.m.

    If Heinz really did what they claim then he really blew it. Instead, he should have run for political office, given promises of unreasonable pensions to public employee unions coupled with low tax rates for his constituents, started lots of new government programs and gotten fat and happy off all of the political contributions that came rolling in. Then, when the ponzi scheme falls apart decades later, he will be enjoying his retirement and it will be the problem of the person elected after him. Better yet, all of his constituents will have to pay for it.

    Ponzi schemes are only illegal if they are not run by a city, county, state or federal government. Just ask the people of Detroit, San Bernardino, Stockton, etc.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2013 9:50 p.m.

    One of the reasons that these ponzi schemes get so big is that members are afraid to open their mounts and alert everyone. No one wants to be the person that has to say Bro. So and So is a con artist Instead, they keep quiet and then more people get swindled. While I have some empathy for those who lost money, those who are greedy are the easiest to scam. If the return is way better then what you can get elsewhere, at a minimum you are in a very risky investment and more likely in a scam.

  • more or less prove, UT
    Aug. 11, 2013 2:39 p.m.

    I knew this guy. He was a carefree kid who drove a vw bug. Now he's a criminal. He didn't even have the courage to call his mother and let her know before it hit the papers. Who knows what happened to him since those days, though I could speculate it's all about greed and status on both his part and his wife's part. She was always into finery and he was always into her. It's a very sad story.

    Regardless of the group (or religion) there's always going to be a full spectrum of people, from the most saintly honest heart to the serial killer or child molester. We know that the LDS church is no different, in that fact, than any other group. It shouldn't surprise anyone that these stories surface about LDS members, it should be more surprising that people continue to trust others based on a common belief system, or DNA, or group affiliation. We just don't have that luxury, and maybe never did.

  • RSPcda Blackfoot, ID
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:12 p.m.

    Same guy? From the Deseret News 8-13-99

    "Orem City Council member Steve Heinz's announcement that he will file for the mayor's position is an outrage. For seven and one-half years, he has occupied a seat on the council. He has consistently had the worst attendance record of any of the council members. His poor attendance at council meetings, study sessions, other committees to which he is assigned and official public appearances has been deplorable.

    Having regularly attended council meetings for five of the last seven years, I have witnessed this personally. It is also on the public record in the city recorder's office. When Mr. Heinz does attend, he often comes late and leaves early, voting on items for which he has not attended previous hearings or study sessions. His conduct is an affront to other city council members who are committed and earn their pay, to dedicated staff members, to the many volunteers who serve on city boards with no compensation and to the taxpayers of Orem who have paid Mr. Heinz's salary. His lack of commitment and demonstration of poor performance has long been grounds for a resignation. Instead, he wants a promotion."

  • RSPcda Blackfoot, ID
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:49 p.m.

    When I did a search on his name, I found an old article from 1999 urging people not to vote for Steve Heinz for mayor of Orem. Same person? The complaint in that article was that he never showed up to city council meetings, or came late and left early, and then he wanted to be Mayor. It would seem he has had a poor work ethic for years, if this is the same person.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    "In 2007, **he was disciplined** by the Utah State Division of Securities. Heinz also holds an insurance license, and in 2009 **he was disciplined** by the Utah Insurance Office for allegedly urging a client to lie to the state commission."

    So, he was "disciplined" was he?

    From just the record shown above, not only did HE not learn his lesson, neither did the State.

  • jpc53 Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    The saddest part about this is that right now, you can get better returns than he was offering in the stock market. There is an old adage, apparently not known here in Utah, "if it seems to good to be true it probably is."

  • my two cents777 ,
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    @poyman: I , too, am a member, living in AZ, and I could not agree with you more. There seem to be so many members who want to "get rich quickly" and have no qualms about cheating anyone in order to fulfill their ambitions. It used to be quite a joke in the Phx area- don't ever do business with the LDS because you will lose your money to a scheme. I am so ashamed to admit it seemed to be a true concept. Not saying all LDS are crooked; that would be a huge stretch, but, many, many have gotten involved in less than savory business practices that reflect on all of us. What a shame. ,

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 9, 2013 4:28 p.m.

    "It is astonishing how few people are tempted to "invest" in schemes like these who are content with what they already have.

    Wow.... so that is why old people get suckered into these things. It isn't because they are on fixed incomes, they are watching medical care and inflation eat away at their savings, and they are scared they are going to out live their retirement funds....

    nope..... it is because they are greedy.

    Glad we got that clarified.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    When will people in Utah finally get it? Don't give money to someone who makes promises nobody else makes.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    Hugh Nibley wrote about our tendency to chase after things of the world in "Approaching Zion."

    The book's primary thesis is the phrase "Zion cannot be built on the economics of Babylon."

    He suggests that until we honestly accept the biblical injunction: "having food and raiment, let us therewith be content," (1 Timothy 6:8) we, as a people are unlikely to be free of predators intent on getting their hands on our savings. It is astonishing how few people are tempted to "invest" in schemes like these who are content with what they already have.

    Hugh had a good point.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 2:46 p.m.

    To Brahmabull:

    There is no difference. And it is ok to promote or critique a position, party or religion. The key problem, however, is the propensity of some folks to spin virtually every event into an argument that supposedly supports their pet cause, be it politics, religion, race relations or anything else, without any real connection. When it comes to the LDS Church, or Republicans vs Democrats, it becomes too much of a temptation for many on these boards to spin everything back to those pet causes.

  • Kelliebelle66 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 2:39 p.m.

    They need to throw the book at people who perpetrate these types of the scams. One of the reasons, besides greed and selfishness, people do this is because they feel the benefits outweigh the bad consequences. People might think that since they are not violent they should be dealt with leniently or because he is a family man he shouldn't have to go to prison with the type of people over in Point of the Mountain. But he is the type of person who is over in Point of the Mountain, a criminal who doesn't care about anybody but himself. Victims of financial crime may not have physical wounds but they are suffering their own kind of hell. And to those who sit on their high horses and blame the LDS church and say it's members are particularly gullible, this type of thing happens in every state of the union, whether or not a person is religious. Look at Bernie Madoff. Same thing and didn't that happen in New York? There are people who are very good manipulating and fooling others and religious affiliation or where one resides has nothing to do with it.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    Can we have clear comments without the hate prejudice? Here are the facts:
    1. Heinz seems to be guilty of Ponzi schemes. Outrageous.
    2. These Ponzi schemes are common place in many parts of the world and the US. No need to single out Utah County except to fester your prejudices.
    3. The people who invest in these should garner little sympathy beyond the prosecutor's sycthe because they were either greedy or had turned their brain off.

    I'm very glad the D-News and others are making a big deal out of this. Education is the best panacea for silly investors to learn not to do such nonsense and jail is the best remedy for perpetrators.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    But he was always so neat! I gave him a lot of money because of that fact.

  • left2right Murray, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    This guy pulled a stunt on me when I moved into his LDS ward in the late 80's. He was serving as a councilor in a Bishopric, and he called me to see if I was interested in an IRA and life insurance--before we had even attended for the first time--because he had a chance to see our move-in records before we attended!!!! Classic Northwestern nonsense. He is an embarrassment to his church, his profession, and to his friends and family.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Two things you should highly avoid doing. Don't loan money to family / church members and don't invest with members / family.

    These two things can really ruin your relationships with the people you most likely want to have relationships with. It is hard for me to explain but it just changes the dynamics of your relationships when you have money involved.

    There are plenty of honest, truthful, trustworthy, financially smart people out there that aren't church members. The LDS church does not have a monopoly on values. I believe a lot of members are honest but just because they are honest doesn't mean they are good with financial decisions.

    Joseph Smith and the bank he setup early in the church is a perfect example of that.

  • peacemaker Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    How much income will he lose during his ten years in prison?
    How much will his children and his wife suffer? How will he ever regain the trust of those who mean the most to him.
    He will be responsible for life to pay back those who he deceived. He will never be free from the burden of debt he has created. Never again will he be able to be licensed in Utah or elsewhere in a position of trust.
    His posterity will remember this for many years.
    His head will hang low and his eyes avoid direct contact.
    His only hope is a lot of painful time followed by true repentance.
    TO Those who may be tempted or who are now involved in something similar, consider these consequences.

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    Utah in all likelyhood has the most myoptic and provincial people on earth, while having the average number of frauds and schemes. The former are those that only see child sexually abuse happening in SL and Utah counties, and that Utah is the fraud capital of America with Washington and Uah counties the hot beds. Of course if Mr Myopia read the Denver Post, KC Star, or Atlantic Constitution he might find himself a fool and Atlanta, Philly, Kansas City is his new fraud capital. People do not let your greed allow you to think someone can get you 50 times the return on investment as anyone else, never give money to an unregistered seller of securities. On o e hand you deserve to lose it all for your stupidity on the other this man and Trigger, Mr Ed or who the horse sitting next to him may be called need to be locked up for a long time.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:43 p.m.


    How is stating dislike for a certain religion any different then stating that you do like a certain religion? Other then difference of opinion it is no different. If he was promoting a certain religion would you care?

    Aug. 9, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    I am never surprised when I hear something like this in "Happy Valley". I have an uncle, who is always getting involved in these get rich schemes, and yes he is from Orem. One time he even ripped many people in the family off by putting everything in his son's name, instead of everyone else. He is still to this day trying to get rich quick and trying to lure family members to buy into his stuff. While he didn't do what this guy did and just take the money to use for a lavish lifestyle, he did cheat to get more for himself. I think more people just need to get normal jobs and stop trying to get rich so fast. Most Millionaires worked really hard for what they have over years of dedication to a legitimate business.

  • peacemaker Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    Old quote but so true. "If it seems to good to be true it probably is". How much income is he going to lose during ten years in prison. His family will suffer the most, his children and his wife and his posterity for many years.
    He obviously forgot to consider consequences. How many lives will forever be tortured by his actions? Can you imagine trying to regain trust and self respect.
    Maybe these thoughts will stifle the greedy desires of others. To the retired: Only deal with ri

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    New York, NY

    Agreed. There's honest pay for hard work, and the further one strays from that standard, the greater the risk. If it really was easier, more people would be doing it.

    Every return higher than normal comes at a cost.

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    I might be able to offer insight into why people invest with people like this. We had one of these people in my family, he operated through an evangelical church. People thought of him as a "financial genius", a Christian and he made a show of charity, charm and wealth. My immediate family refused to invest which split the family to this day. If you were "against him" you were called jealous, mean spirited, etc. When he was arrested and convicted that side of the family blamed the "jealous" people for "framing him." Thirty years have gone by and the rift remains between those who still believe he is an angel and those who know the truth.

  • jfawcett Renton, Wa
    Aug. 9, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    These people groom their victims to develop trust and confidence. Then, when they act in suspicious ways and conniving ways, the victim doesn't question their motives and trusts that all is well. Not only do tney groom the victim, they groom everyone around them to believe their are good and trustworthy. Often these awful individuals look too good to be true. They look nice, they act successful, and they may even hold high church callings (become they've postured and positioned themselves to be "righteous"). . . and they are in reality very evil and slimy.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Just another case of a good old Mormon boy trying to keep up with his peers.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    My father as well, was duped to invest into property in Hawaii by a Bishop(one he trusted) and he lost the $80,000 he invested. It was devastating - that was their savings. It seems these days, it becomes more of a question than fact of "who can be trusted". The prospect of not being cheated is becoming more of a reality. It's a shame - but those that cheat, lie and deceive will meet their Maker...I will feel no pity for their selfishness and greed.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    A couple of years ago I visited my parents in law and found them under the water. They told me they had lost $100K. They trusted someone at their ward and it resulted to be a Ponzi schema. While hearing the story, I asked them why they decided to take the risk of investing. Answer was not greedy at all. What they had saved with much sacrifice may look like a big amount but thanks to the current economy, it's just peanuts. Looking for increasing that amount, they (HS diplomas and still believing your word means something) decided to take the "risk" not knowing it was a Ponzi schema. So no, it's not greedy. It's the need of trying to make sure they will have a decent life when older and not having to beg to children for support. And I know of others that after helping the kids, they find they don't have enough and then they go looking for a way to invest their little savings. Those are the victims of people such as this guy. I hope he and his wife receive the sentence they so much deserve.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    Chris B:

    You love to blow your anti-LDS horn, don't you. In Utah County, most people go to church. So when someone there commits a crime, odds are they are a church member. Statistically, crime is actually lower in Utah County than almost anywhere in the country.

    The real story here isn't some red-herring about what church the guy goes to, but is a story about greed and its consequences. Greedy evil people who take advantage of others through deceit and theft are just that, greedy evil people. And greedy, naive people who ignore risk and invest in "too good to be true" promises of returns are more likely to be taken advantage of than those who do their due diligence, stay diversified, and invest in low-cost, quality investments with reasonable return expectations.

    I am sick of people with an agenda trying to turn everything into a talking point for that agenda, be it politicians, or people who dislike a particular religion.

  • Lew Scannon Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    I have some investments I'd like to sell you. I can guarantee you a 50 percent return, no risk. Warren Buffett is buying these up by the boatload. Just call this phone num . . .

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    Rather than, "The elderly are just as greedy", it might be more accurate to say "Greedy people grow old too".

    Anyway, to those wealthy elderly folks. Rather than try to make astronomical returns on your money, how about finding a company that is trying to do something good in the world and invest in it. There are fewer companies trying to make a difference and I'm sure they would welcome your support.

    Too many people trying to make money and too few people trying to make the world a better place.

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Wouldn't it be super funny if he weren't LDS...I mean it doesn't actually say in the article that he's LDS. I guess we can assume, but assumptions aren't always correct, are they?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    He stole millions and he MAY get criminal charges pressed against him?? Wow. You shoplift at wal-mart and you will face criminal charges. You steal from a home you will get criminal charges. But scam people out of millions... eh, may get criminal charges. No wonder people keep doing this fraud.. the price to pay if you get caught is low, and the rewards are very high. I am in the wrong profession.

  • ImaUteFan West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:32 a.m.

    One of the reasons these kinds of things keep happening here in Utah is that often the perpetrators are never punished. Some of the fraudsters are so clever that they set things up perfectly to rip off their victims and then walk away scott-free. They never pay the price for the lives they have ruined. It's disgusting.

    I'm always satisfied to read about the guys who are actually caught and prosecuted. Wish this state had enough guts to go after everyone but they don't. They only seem to be interested in the "big fish" and the rest of us are deemed "small potatoes". I know all of this too well from an unfortunate personal experience.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    Saint George is laced with these kind of people. From Amway (which isn't a ponzi scheme) it's "multilevel". Hope we're teaching kids to watch out for these people. Look at his picture- What does a scam artist look like????

    Watch for anyone that says: Buy from me because...

    1. I'm a member of your church
    2. I hold a temple recommend


    1. Beware of predators
    2. Get a job
    3. Save 10%
    4. Pay your tithing

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    @Poyman - So if you got $5 for every time someone approached you with an idea how to make millions, what would you have? Maybe $15 or $20, I really don't see the logic in hoping for $5 for each time.

    Second, "....The church in Utah really needs to clean this up." I am assuming you are referring to the church offices in SLC. Why should they be responsible for it, why not as members does it not get cleaned up. There is bad in every faith, not just the LDS faith. Other churches dont clean it up for their members so why should ours. Be held accountable for our own actions. This guy will pay, probably mentally, physically and monetarily. Lets just let justice do its thing.

    There was another poster that was upset with the fact that he "may" be in trouble. Charges haven't been pressed yet. All those people will have to press charges that he hosed. They have to say "may" until he is formerly charged.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Twin Lights:

    I get the concept of affinity fraud but I think these things go a bit deeper in the LDS culture unfortunately. Often times people use positions of authority in the church to influence things along, not sure Maddoff used his authority within the Jewish community in this regard, probably was just Jewish and many of his victims were Jewish. But what often happens where I live here in Utah County is people trust people because of their "calling". Or that they served a mission with so and so who says he's a great guy (that one is used a lot). What is happening is that one is using connections through past missionary service or callings or even relationships to general authorities or family members of general authorities to project a position of somebody they should trust. One expects a former bishop or even a returned missionary to have a current temple recommend. To have one of those, one has to say they are honest in their dealings with their fellow man. Nobody wants to think a former member of the bishopric is going to rip them off. But in Utah County this seems more problematic.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Tattoo " Convicted of investment fraud." on his forehead. That way he can never do it again.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    If it sounds too good to be true, well it guess what, it is.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    Seriously, people? What is it with Utah (particularly Utah Valley) and making absolutely braindead decisions to invest in what are OBVIOUS bad investments with OBVIOUSLY crooked people? I'm 26 years old, and I can spot these guys 10 miles away. I've even had some good friends who I thought would know better get their fingers pinched in this stuff (thankfully, I think they realized where they went wrong before too much damage was done). My father in law who is otherwise a smart and decent fellow is neck deep in MLM schemes and just can't figure out why he can't get rich. I just don't get it. But it's just sad that A) you have to carefully vet the people you can trust--even those who are your neighbors, friends, and go to your church, and B) that people still AREN'T careful and end up falling for this stuff, just because it was someone from church or whatever. Unbelievable.

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    This happens every few months, or at least makes the news that often.

    People...invest with a licensed, bonded brokerage.

    The red flag is a promise of returns you can't get anywhere else.

    While I feel sorry for the victims, they have only themselves to blame.

    Don't cut checks to a "friend" who promises quick, high returns...Jeeeeez.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    My advice - when someone refers to you as Brother/Sister Whomever and talks about money in the same sentence - RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

  • UteExpat New York, NY
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    I am constantly amazed at how little people understand basic rules of investing. Folks, a high rate of return = exceptional risk. If someone is offering you a "guaranteed" return several times over whatever you can get in a CD at Zions Bank or the like, you should run the other way. Ask yourself why a person would pay you several times the percentage they could get at the bank for a business loan, or for margin trading, etc. The real reason why you are being offered such a "great" opportunity is because no-one with the wherewithal to do real financial and legal diligence would loan/invest the money, or because they think they can rip you off before you will figure it out. Maybe on occasion someone involved in one of these schemes gets lucky, but if someone approaches you with an offer to make a ridiculous return, your chances of coming out ahead are very slim indeed.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    The issue is not culture but affinity. Hence the term affinity fraud. When you have a large group of people who share a common bond, affinity fraud is more prevalent.

    Bernie Madoff had a significant number of Jewish victims due to his relationships in that community. And that was one of the biggest Ponzi schemes ever. Can we then conclude that Jews are more subject to affinity fraud? No.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    If someone needs to say i am of certain faith, or say i am family, do this for me. You will be much better off saying no and going a different direction. People use positions all the time to get people to buy things or vote for them just because they are the same religion. If they have to use their religion instead of their own merits they are hiding something.

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    To Poyman, I live in Utah and have never been approached. I guess you have that look about you. It is sad when things like this arise. I'm sure not just in Utah.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    "The elderly are just as greedy as everyone else."

    Spoken like someone who doesn't spend much time with the elderly.

    It is truly sad that this kind of problem keeps coming up, where trusting neighbors or people in your ward is an issue. But this is the exact reason I don't do business with members when ever possible... because I don't want to have any negative feelings towards those I worship with.

    Separation of church and business... I wish it wasn't necessary, but it is a fact of life. Has nothing to do with the faith... but speaks to the weakness of a few in the faith. Humans will be human.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    Every time I hear about another Utah county church goer who takes advantages of others through their church relationship I think of what Jesus said:

    "By their fruits ye shall know them"

    Speaks volumes

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    Thank you, sjc

    The elderly didn't get gullible and greedy as they aged; they started out that way and didn't change. It's child-like.

    But people who live by "blind faith" in corporate religions and who see their volunteer religious leaders as truthful and Godlike, are going to put their greed blinders on and fall for everything scam that comes down the pike.

    Check the Trib. Martin A. Pool and Armand R. Franquelin ran a $12 million scam.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    My wife and I were young professionals who wanted to make our family's future more secure and were approached by the son of a close friend and ward member with a long term investment plan. They had well printed documents, charts and graphs, told us they had the backing of well known banking and investment firms and to really convince us the testimonials of BYU professors and their wives. So we invested for several years but no dividends every showed up. Then we read of the company being investigated in another State. We have tried to be more careful since then but the sting of being deceived by friends and Church members never goes away.

  • Iancook Nevada, MO
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man?

  • utah cornhusker NORFOLK, NE
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    My heart goes out to the elderly people that lost money. I can't say that I ever here much about ponzi schemes happening back here like there is out there. If someone else asked me to meet in a parking lot for transactions id think they were nuts. It Seems so commonplace out there which is sad. But if something promises high rates of returns, its to good to be true. I hope they throw the book at him, but if they only file federal charges against him hed probably go to a nice posh federal prison where it doesn't seem like he's in prison.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:04 a.m.

    Seriously, just because someone is in your ward doesn't mean you can trust them. I've never understood handing over my lives savings just because someone lives in the same neighborhood and goes to the same church.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 9, 2013 6:56 a.m.

    Wolf in sheeps clothing. I believe the bible scriptures mention something of this "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

    It seems to me that while this man might not have been too outlandish claims but at the same time people sometimes just trust people just because they are "LDS". There are plenty of "LDS" people that I wouldn't trust.

    It just weird that people would give your life savings to someone in a grocery store parking lot!

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    Not again?

  • MormonSean Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 6:29 a.m.

    Kings Court,

    I've seen for myself 100x more corruption in the Salt Lake Valley. Utah Valley isn't perfect and crime exists everywhere. But statistically Utah Valley isn't nearly as abundant with problems as Salt Lake. Maybe people in Utah Valley are more trusting and willing to buy stuff in parking lots, making it newsworthy. I'd believe that. But as for the rest, Salt Lake has far more problems and far more people that are tolerant of those problems.

  • Gosh-DUH Burlington, CT
    Aug. 9, 2013 6:15 a.m.

    Just wondering - is/was he a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? The Deseret News is always quick to mention when people are LDS and engaged in good works. Turnabout's fair play. Let's also make of note of when LDS folks, if he is LDS, are accused of swindling family and friends and fellow church members.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Aug. 9, 2013 6:01 a.m.


    "I would say this guy is in a bit of trouble..." Really? Just a bit of trouble? I think it's more like he's in a boat load of doodoo. Stealing from the elderly? Despicable!

  • sjc layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:50 a.m.

    The elderly are just as greedy as everyone else.

    No sympathy for someone seeking a 120% return

  • Pragmatic Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:44 a.m.

    Utah County seems to be infiltrated with Ponzi schemes. This type of activity, unfortunately, is the dark of the predominate culture. There is a culture in Utah County to get rich quick. After all it is the mecca of multi level marketing companies which are all about getting rich quick. This man's horrible behavior is an offshoot of this culture and group think.

  • California Steve Hanford, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:42 a.m.

    "Calls to Steven Heinz were not immediately returned Thursday."
    Go figure.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:00 a.m.

    Not another one! Why are so many people suckered into these scams? Doesn't anybody go to reputable investment professionals? No, they don't promise the outrageous returns BECAUSE THOSE RETURNS ARE IMPOSSIBLE. People are being undone by their own greed. You can't get more than the markets will offer. There is no way around that folks.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:19 a.m.

    This type of problem still keeps raising its ugly head. One would think people would be more aware. Unfortunately, it continues to perpetuate itself.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:15 a.m.

    I'm sorry to say this but Utah has more pyramids in it than Egypt... Everybody has the key idea to unlock the Golden Return Gates... All they need is your money and everyone will be rich...

    I'm a member of the church and I live out of state, and I wish I had $5 for everytime someone living in Utah approached me with an idea of how to make millions by spending my money...

    It's really kind of sad... It's sad because these people paint the church and what we stand for in orrible colors for the world to see. The church in Utah really needs to clean up this perception.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:47 p.m.

    Stealing is bad enough on its own, but stealing from the elderly? Absolute slime.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:42 p.m.

    Other than his victims who were elderly, I don't know how people get suckered into these schemes.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:52 p.m.

    I would say this guy is in a bit of trouble...

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:08 p.m.

    I believe that people who claim to be Christian and use their religious connections to dupe people out of their money will eventually pay a bigger price than those who never claimed to follow God's teachings. One thing was clear in the Bible, Christ was patient with the sinner but not the hypocrite.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:00 p.m.

    Heinz "may eventually face criminal charges".
    I guess this sort of thing explains the frustrations felt by Americans concerning our justice system.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:40 p.m.

    Once again, frauds, scams, and schemes seem to be abundant in Happy Valley.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:33 p.m.

    First, this is just sad and I'm happy it's being brought to light.

    Second, why would you give someone, even a friend or family member, investment money in a grocery store parking lot and/or without documentation?