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Friday
Feb182011

'Amish Madoff' Victims Want Bankruptcy Case Dismissed

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SUGARCREEK, Ohio) -- Daniel Miller, a victim of the Amish "Madoff" scheme in Sugarcreek, Ohio, and dozens of other Amish creditors say they prefer the bankruptcy proceedings related to their $33 million in investments be dismissed.

Miller was one of 2,600 creditors in 29 states, mostly from the Amish community, who invested money with Monroe Beachy, a 77-year old Amish man accused of running a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"I think the Amish can do a lot better job for the creditors than what the government can do," Miller said.  "Instead of the bankruptcy attorneys handling everything and dragging into the court system, they will take it and distribute it to the creditors involved.  It makes more sense to me."

Miller, 55, does not believe Beachy intentionally tried to defraud his Amish neighbors but actually hoped to recoup unanticipated losses, such as from crashes in the stock market, for his investors.

Beachy, doing business as A&M Investments, raised at least $33 million, according to the S.E.C. complaint filed this week.  He sold investment contracts from as early as 1986 through June 2010, telling investors their money would be used to purchase risk-free U.S. government securities, but instead he made speculative investments, according to the filing.

Media headlines are comparing Beachy to Bernie Madoff, the investment advisor who choreographed a $50 billion Ponzi scheme since the early '90s, because of the long period in which they both falsified positive returns to investors.

As part of the investigation, Beachy filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June with a court in the Northern District of Ohio.  Court documents indicate he has less than $18 million of investors' money left.

In an unusual twist, according to a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy proceedings filed by members of the Amish community, about 2,550, or 94 percent, of creditors are in favor of dismissal.  The bankruptcy court received 67 filings each containing multiple form letters from Miller and other members of the Amish community in Sugarcreek. 

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