A Laguna Beach man, who was previously hauled into federal court for allegedly duping investors out of millions in a scam involving a technological "invention" to increase gas mileage of any car to 150 mpg, has been named in a superseding federal grand jury indictment that also accuses him of masterminding a $3 million investment fraud related to green energy.
Peter Heinrich Conrad Reinert, 61, was arrested in April 2015 after a grand jury charged him in two investment fraud schemes that allegedly caused $3.6 million in losses. But the FBI continued to investigate him, and the new allegations claim a third investment fraud duped other investors out of $3.2 million.
The 35-count superseding indictment filed last week in the federal courthouse in Santa Ana alleges Reinert ran Irvine-based Income from Waste Corp. (IFW), which told investors it was developing a technology to convert used tires into oil.
Between January 2014 and Reinert's arrest on April 14, 2015, he collected $3.2 million from victims across the country, including a family of farmers in Missouri, but he spent the money not on development of green energy technology but for personal expenses, luxury automobiles, sales commissions, Apple Store purchases and he sent money to an account in Poland, the indictment alleges.
Besides the fraud charges, the superseding grand jury indictment alleges Reinert failed to file a corporate tax return for 2010 for another company he controlled, Green Energy Enterprises, Inc.
As the Weekly previously reported, Reinert was originally indicted and taken into custody for allegedly duping about 50 investors out of at least $3.6 million in scams involving technological "inventions" to thwart counterfeiters of state documents and slash gasoline consumption with an electromagnetic motor. The two Irvine companies that shared the same address were Global Encryption Imaging Corp. and Fazer Technologies Corporation.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
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To gain legitimacy with victims, Reinert falsely claimed to be a U.S. Secret Service agent who had served as a Marine, according to the feds, who also note the German-born "CEO" obtained a U.S. passport of a "Peter Michael Berger" that falsely claimed he was born in Maine. What he did not tell his marks was he had been convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court in June 1990 for grand theft and in federal court in February 2000 for fraudulent use of unauthorized access device. The FBI alleges he carried a gun in his Irvine office despite not being allowed to because of his felony convictions.
“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, in the same statement. “Investors can verify federal and military employment and, in many cases, the legitimacy of an investment, by doing research before handing over their savings.”
Having remained in custody without bond since his original arrest, Reinert is now on the hook for frauds that took victims for a collective $6.8 million. He now faces 19 counts of wire fraud, 13 counts of mail fraud, two counts of passport fraud and one misdemeanor tax count. The fraud charges for the investment scams each carry a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The passport fraud charges each carry a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years. The charge of failure to file a tax return carries a statutory maximum penalty of one year.
Reinert is expected to be arraigned on the superseding indictment on Monday, and U.S. District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton in Santa Ana previously set a Sept. 20 trial date.