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A 78-year-old German woman who investigators say conned four people out of more than $200,000 by convincing them she was a foreign heiress was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court.
Ingeborg Del Vechil faces four felony counts stemming from an alleged securities fraud that began in December 2010. Vechil is being held in Salt Lake County Jail on $100,000 bail.
According to a probable cause statement filed Thursday, Vechil told victims she owned a billion-dollar overseas trust fund but couldn't afford the fees required to bring it into the country.Vechil allegedly convinced them to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars by promising to return millions once the trust fund arrived.
In one instance, two men, aged 65 and 58, allegedly gave Vechil about $200,000 between 2011 and 2013. The probable cause statement alleges that Vechil told the men she needed the money to cover the taxes and fees the Department of Homeland Security charged to bring the money into the country.
The men allegedly first met Vechil in a Salt Lake City hotel. Speaking in a heavy German accent, Vechil allegedly explained the phony trust fund and told them "she was one of the original traders that received a master trader license in the 1950s," according to the probable cause statement.
Over the course of more than a year, the men allegedly sent several MoneyGram wire transfers to Nigeria. Vechil and two male accomplices, who have not been charged, provided the victims with phony documents summarizing the investments and guaranteeing repayments.
According to the probable cause statement, Vechil told the men they "would earn millions of dollars if they invested money with her and brought her money over to the United States, when in fact, Vechil had no reasonable basis for making such a representation."
Vechil is alleged to have conned two other victims. One was a 76-year-old man whom Vechil allegedly bilked out of more than $57,000.
The other was a 75-year-old woman who allegedly handed over $1,500 near the Fashion Place Mall in Murray after Vechil and one of her accomplices promised her a $1,500,000 cut of the trust fund.
The woman later told investigators that she had kept the $1,500 in an emergency drawer, and it was all the cash she had at the time, according to the probable cause statement.
Before leaving with the woman's money, Vechil's accomplice allegedly told the victim "that she wouldn't be sorry and that this was going to be a lot of fun."
Vechil is charged with two counts of second-degree felony securities fraud, one count of third-degree felony securities fraud and one count of second-degree felony pattern of unlawful activity.