A Kirkwood con artist has been convicted of federal fraud charges for tricking investors into giving him money that he secretly used to cover his own expenses, including payments to the online dating site FunForSingles.com, authorities say.
To reassure his victims, 45-year-old Robert "Robbie" Beyer II created a fake financial backer he named Jesus Cristobal, a wealthy (but imaginary) South American money man who was supposedly bankrolling Beyer's bogus non-profit foundation.
Beyer promised safe investments and returns of eight to eighteen percent to lure his marks.
Investors lost nearly $300,000 entrusted to Beyer and his Hero Life Assurance Foundation, prosecutors say.
Beyer was arrested by federal agents in October 2014, and a series of bizarre developments followed. He was initially released on his own recognizance and then allowed to stay out on bond, but he told a judge in July 2015 he didn't want to be free anymore and was locked up as a federal inmate in Phelps County, according to court records.
He was again released and rearrested during the following year. At one point, he wrote letters asking the judge to dismiss the case along, with his attorneys from the Federal Public Defender's Office.
"Please dismiss the case based on the solid ground of the Old Testament Exodus 23:13," he told the judge in one of the handwritten notes, adding he would not "put my hand with the wicked" or "follow a crowd to do evil" if the case was dismissed.
Beyer was evaluated for possible psychological problems and was twice found competent to stand trial.
On Thursday, a jury unanimously found him guilty of wire fraud and money laundering. He is due to be sentenced on December 7. He faces a maximum of twenty years in prison and fines of $250,000 for the fraud charge and ten years and another $250,000 for money laundering.
He was investigated by agents from the FBI's Kirksville Office and prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Richard Finneran and Amanda Wick.
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May Cristobal have mercy on his soul.