SANTA ANA, CALIF.
A federal grand jury indicted a Laguna Beach man of defrauding victims out of more than $3 million in an investment fraud scam related to green energy, according to officials.
Authorities arrested Peter Heinrich Conrad Reinert, 61, in April 2015 after a grand jury charged him in two investment fraud schemes that allegedly caused $3.6 million in losses.
Reinert is expected to be arraigned in federal court in Santa Ana on August 8. U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton ordered Reinert to stand trial on Sept. 20.
Federal authorities continue to investigate Reinert for additional crimes.
According to the 35-count superseding indictment filed Wednesday in federal court, in addition to the two scams outlined in the 2015 indictment, Reinert ran a third scheme out of the Irvine-based Income from Waste Corporation.
Reinert told victims that Waste Corporation was developing a technology to convert used tires into oil. As part of the scheme, Reinert falsely claimed to be a U.S. Secret Service agent and a veteran.
Between January 2014 and his arrest on April 14, 2015, Reinert used Waste Corporation to fraudulently obtain $3.2 million dollars from victims from across the country, including a family of farmers in Missouri.
Instead of spending the money to develop the purported green energy technology, Reinert used the money to pay for personal expenses and luxury automobiles, sales commissions and purchases at Apple’s iTunes store, as well as sending money to an account in Poland.
In addition to the Waste Corporation scam, Reinert allegedly illegally obtained and used a U.S. passport in the name “Peter Michael Berger” after falsely claiming he was born in Maine. During the investigation, authorities learned that Reinert actually was born in Germany.
In addition, Reinert failed to file a corporate tax return for 2010 for another company he controlled, Green Energy Enterprises, Inc.
“This defendant is charged with operating a series of fraudulent companies, falsely claiming that the companies were good investments,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Worse still, Mr. Reinert’s schemes preyed upon his victims’ desire to contribute to the public good, either by improving the environment or increasing the security of identification documents. This defendant’s fraudulent activity was widespread and harmed victims across the United States.”
Reinert has been in custody since he was arrested on the original 14-count indictment, which alleges he fraudulently raised money for two other companies that were purportedly developing technology to increase gas mileage and prevent the counterfeiting of government-issued identity documents. The original charges were included as part of the superseding indictment.
“These latest allegations against Mr. Reinert suggest he is a serial con artist who continues to cheat investors into funding his schemes and his lifestyle,” said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Field Office. “Investors can verify federal and military employment and, in many cases, the legitimacy of an investment, by doing research before handing over their savings.”
The indictment, which alleges that victims cumulatively suffered losses of approximately $6.8 million, charges Reinert with 19 counts of wire fraud, 13 counts of mail fraud, two counts of passport fraud, and one misdemeanor tax count.