By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4)– Doug Moreland, better known around Colorado as car pitchman “Dealin’ Doug,” admits he is one of the victims of a massive Ponzi scheme first reported this week by CBS4.
In a half-hour phone interview with CBS4, the car dealer said “I blame myself” for not doing more due diligence on the investment that will likely cost him about $500,000.
“Shame on me and all the investors for not holding him more accountable,” lamented Moreland.
On Monday, Greenwood Village businessman Dan Rudden told an estimated 150 investors that their investments totaling $55 million was gone, flushed away in a Ponzi scheme Rudden said he had been running since about 2010 or 2011. He had started his company, Financial Visions, in 2001.
Rudden told CBS4 it was a successful enterprise for years, rewarding investors with regular 12 percent returns. But he said seven years ago, things began to go south and the business morphed into a Ponzi scheme with money from new investors being used to pay interest to old investors.
“It’s a bad deal, as bad as you could ever dream up,” said Rudden. “My crimes are horrendous. The evil results from the Financial Visions crimes will be devastating and long lasting for anyone who knew me. The betrayals will be considered some of the greatest ever.”
Moreland said he had known Rudden for about 30 years, meeting him when their sons played on the same youth baseball team. He said they were close friends- including being invited to the weddings of Rudden’s children- and had been involved in several business deals, including Financial Visions.
Moreland said he trusted Rudden with his $500,000 and “should have demanded more accountability.”
As the Ponzi scheme crumbled, Moreland said he heard from Rudden, who apologized.
“I can’t figure it out,” said Moreland. ”How can someone do it to a friend? I can’t replace the friendship we had and the trust in people. He led two lives, and the second one was as a criminal.”
Although Rudden has not been arrested or charged, the father of six said he expects that will happen soon and that he will likely go to prison. Several investors have told CBS4 they have filed criminal complaints with state law enforcement authorities.
Annie Skinner, a spokesperson for the Colorado Attorney General said they don’t confirm or deny investigations “so we don’t have a comment at this time.”
Rudden has said he will cooperate with law enforcement and turn over bank statements and financial information.
Moreland said there are lessons to be learned from the Rudden debacle. He urged investors to be diligent in doing their homework, checking out whom they are placing their money with and holding them accountable.
Moreland, one of the largest car dealers in Colorado, said he can handle the financial setback but feels badly for smaller investors who won’t be able to easily absorb their losses.
“It just sucks man. We’re all gullible,” said Moreland.