Boise realtor charged with running $82m Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors

Boise man who allegedly attacked Christians, using Bible quotes to trick them into investing in Arizona real estate, is accused of running a Ponzi scheme and defrauding investors of more than $82 million .

Bradley R. Heinrichs, 41, was charged in Arizona with four counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, unlawful control of a business, theft and conspiracy, all felonies. He pleaded not guilty.

“Out of respect for the legal process, we will not comment on the allegations against Mr. Heinrichs except to say that he denies them,” Phoenix attorney Anne Chapman said via email. “There are many sides to every story, and Mr. Heinrichs is allowing the legal process to take its course.”

Heinrichs is listed as director of the Anthology real estate, 421 S. 8th St. in Boise, according to records from the office of the Idaho secretary of state. If convicted, Heinrichs could face a sentence of 4.5 years to 69 years in prison.

The indictment was announced in March 2021 – nearly six years after the crimes allegedly took place. A trial date is to be set for April 14.

A settlement conference between an Arizona assistant attorney general and Chapman was held earlier this month, but no resolution was reached.

A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office did not respond to a phone call and email.

A request for records submitted to the Idaho attorney general’s office revealed no investigation into Heinrich’s conduct in Idaho.

The Arizona attorney general’s office, which reviewed more than 75,000 pages of documents, said Heinrichs and a co-defendant, Stephen J. Hatch, operated a racketeering business involving the sale of real estate in Arizona between January 2005 and December 2014.

The pair has promised double-digit returns to more than 110 investors, including many from Idaho, prosecutors said.

A business partner spent five years in prison

Hatch, now 72, pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison. In exchange for Hatch’s guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed not to charge her children, who were receiving lavish salaries and allegedly implicated in the scam.

Hatch, who was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution, was released from prison in September and remains on community supervision, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records.

In a Ponzi scheme, money from subsequent investors is used to pay off previous investors to make it look like there are profits. When the incoming money dries up, the system collapses.

Heinrichs told investors “his company wanted to give opportunity for ‘Christian families’ to invest, how God was using their company to support missions and they wanted to pass on the blessing to the ‘little guy’ who normally wouldn’t have not an opportunity like this,” according to a court filing from a group that formed to seek reparations for the victims of Heinrichs and Hatch.

The group said Heinrichs falsely told investors Hatch was worth $15 million to $20 million and didn’t need the money. Henrichs told investors that Hatch had worked in the real estate industry for many years and had come out of retirement to help other people, primarily his children, learn the trade, the group said.

The group, the Hatch/Heinrichs Victims Recovery Fund, said Heinrichs “promised certain investors annual returns of up to 25%.”

Heinrichs is accused of lying to investors about missing payments. Prosecutors say he regularly sent statements to investors showing increased interest income without telling them there was not enough money to make the income payments.

Heinrich and Hatch created over 30 business entities and managed 17 book sets to purchase 13 properties.

Hatch was responsible for locating, acquiring, developing and rezoning properties, while Heinrichs was responsible for recruiting investors, according to a letter from the attorney general’s office.

Boise doctor among victims of Ponzi scheme

Dr. Richard Blickenstaff, a Boise dermatologist, originally invested $227,800 in Heinrichs, according to a letter to a judge in the Arizona attorney general’s office. He added another $100,000 in June 2014.

Blickenstaff, who provided the Idaho statesman with the case documents, lived in the same Idaho subdivision as Heinrichs’ parents and they attended the same church. Heinrichs’ sister was a friend of Blickenstaff’s son, so Richard Blickenstaff also knew Heinrichs.

“Through this relationship, Heinrichs sought investment,” the letter said. “He told Blickenstaff that Hatch was a Christian, a man of impeccable character, had a long history of successful real estate ventures, and had delivered the return promised to investors in all of his previous projects.”

Five months after Blickenstaff provided Heinrichs with the $100,000, Heinrichs told Blickenstaff that Hatch misappropriated the money from the investments.

“When Blickenstaff asked him how he could have taken an extra $100,000 from him knowing there were irregularities and red flags regarding fraud and mismanagement, he replied ‘it’s something I struggle with. “”, indicates the letter.

A second Boise victim, who lost an undisclosed sum of money, declined to comment when contacted by the statesman.

The allegations are similar to those in Idaho’s largest Ponzi scheme, in which executives of Diversified Business Services and Investments, known as DBSI, defrauded 8,500 investors and suppliers out of $102 billion.

CEO Doug Swenson, convicted in 2014 of 44 counts of securities fraud and 34 counts of wire fraud, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Three other executives, including Swenson’s two sons, were sentenced to three to five years in prison.

DBSI operated legitimately for many years before aggressively buying office buildings and offering investors shares in the buildings. Cash flow problems eventually led executives to pay investors with money provided by new investors as profits deteriorated.

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