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Radiologist Says Con Artist Stole $7.5 Million

June 18, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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The guy was a multimillionaire commodities trader and a partner in a Swiss hedge fund, he said. I can invest your money so safely that it’s “un-losable,” he said. You’ll be able to live off the interest, he said. You remind me of my late father, he said. Trust me, he said.

Oh, boy.

Of course the guy was a fraud. But he was persuasive. According to authorities, Evan Flaxman, 35, of Silverthorne, Colorado, enticed Minneapolis radiologist William J. Ford III, MD, and the son of Dr. Ford’s colleague to “invest” nearly $7.5 million with him and his “hedge fund.”

Invest it he did, authorities said. In toys for himself. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, which detailed the story on Friday:

He paid $698,546 for a Ferrari last year and $582,244 for two Ferraris in 2010. He also bought a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, a 2009 Mercedes, a 2010 Land Rover, and a Bentley Silver Spur. He bought fine furniture and jewelry, including a $20,223 Rolex watch.

Flaxman was charged on Thursday in Minneapolis with one count of mail fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The Star Tribune said he was charged via a “felony information” rather than a grand jury indictment, indicating that a plea agreement is likely.

According to filings related to a federal search warrant and forfeiture proceedings, after Flaxman returned from his honeymoon late last summer (and wouldn’t we all like to know what kinds of stories he has spun for his new wife?), he told Dr. Ford that the hedge fund had a new client: a former KGB agent named Vladimir.

Flaxman allegedly described Vladimir as the scariest person he had ever met and said that, “if anyone were to ever cross Vladimir, you would pay with your life.”

Last fall, when Dr. Ford became suspicious and tried to withdraw his money, according to the filings, Flaxman said his (apparently fictional) partner in the (apparently fictional) hedge fund had betrayed him. When Dr. Ford persisted, according to the filings, Flaxman responded in a November 19 e-mail that Dr. Ford was a “leech” and said, “Leave me … alone or I can happily introduce you to Vladimir.”

Fortunately for all concerned, Vladimir too is apparently fictional.

Con artists, on the other hand, are all too real. Federal authorities are seeking to forfeit $5.9 million seized from accounts controlled by Flaxman and his mother, Phyllis Flaxman, as well as their home in Silverthorne, assorted Ferraris, and other vehicles. So perhaps the victims will get at least most of their money back.

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