CHICAGO - A Chicago investment manager is accused of swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars from women he met on dating websites by making himself out to be a financial wizard.
Marcus Beam, 49, is charged with nine counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
Beam represented himself as the owner of a Chicago investment company called Chase Private Equity LLC, also known as New World Capital LLC, prosecutors said.
He also owned other companies, including a virtual reality company based out of Naperville and a brokerage firm out of Bolingbrook that claimed to sell retail electricity for third parties, prosecutors said.
Beam allegedly exaggerated his financial success and expected return on investments in order to convince women he met online to give him money, prosecutors said. He also targeted a family member and a former employee.
He claimed the money would be invested in companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as products like gold, art and real estate, prosecutors said.
Instead, Beam allegedly spent the money on rent, auto loans and shopping sprees at stores including Walmart and Ikea.
Beam started the scheme in 2015 and continued until October 2019, prosecutors said. He allegedly provided his investors with statements that misrepresented the value of their funds to hide his plot.
He also allegedly lied to them about why their money couldn’t be paid back, prosecutors said. All together, investors lost at least $500,000.
If convicted, each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the attorney’s office said.