Alleged Ponzi Schemer Targets Elderly - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Alleged Ponzi Schemer Targets Elderly

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Ninety-two-year-old John Borho Sr. trusted Leon Randy Sinclair with his life savings worth over $3 million.

"He thought that Randy was doing him a huge favor," Borho's son, John Borho Jr. said.

Seventy-three-year-old Mary Smith also trusted Sinclair with her life savings which totaled around 600 thousand dollars.

"She's a person who thought she was ready to retire in good shape and would be able to take care of herself and her daughter," Smith's attorney, Lewis Jost said.

Now both Borho and Smith say they are flat broke and allege Sinclair, the president of National Estate Planning stole all their money.

"He took all her money, all of it," Wanda Schultz, Smith's friend said.

While Sinclair lives in a million dollar home in the Memorial area, Smith, who once had over half a million dollars shops at the dollar store and makes meatloaf with Spam.

"I think it's deplorable, despicable, evil," Schultz said.

Borho, a former multimillionaire, now lives solely on social security.

"It's devastating to him," Borho's son said. "I honestly believe it's going to put him in his grave worrying about this."

In their lawsuits against Sinclair, Smith and Borho accuse him of keeping their money instead of putting it into annuities like he told them he would. Smith's attorney believes other elderly clients may also be broke because of Sinclair and just don't know it yet.

FOX 26 Investigates asked Jost if he feared Sinclair was running some sort of alleged Ponzi scheme.

"Yes," Jost replied. "If it didn't start out that way it ended that way."

And how it's all ending for Smith and Borho is painful to watch, according to those closest to them.

Smith and Borho don't know each other but their lawsuits paint the same disturbing picture. Both of them reportedly knew Sinclair for many years and both handed over their life savings to him after their spouses died. Smith's attorney said Sinclair even drove the grieving widow to banks where she had accounts.

"He told her he could put her money in safe investments that would generate a monthly income stream for her living expenses," Jost said.

According to his lawsuit Sinclair told Borho the same thing. But when they or anyone else asked Sinclair to prove where the money was the suit alleges they would get excuses and the run around.

"We just wanted to know where is the money, where is her money and he would not tell us," Schultz said.

"We never saw any account numbers, didn't know what kind of interest it was making, had no idea where the money was, none whatsoever," Borho Jr. said.

The southwest side office for Sinclair's National Estate Planning has been closed for some time. A sign says it's closed for the holidays but the court ordered a receiver so Jost is trying to locate some of Smith's money.

"As of now we have not found the money, we are still looking," Jost said.

FOX 26 Investigates went to Sinclair's posh home to get his side of the story. Sinclair opened the door and told us he had nothing to say. In court documents he denies all the allegations made against him in the suits.

Sinclair is currently under criminal investigation by the Texas Department Of Insurance. A sergeant with that agency's fraud division confirms there's an on-going criminal probe involving Sinclair but declined to give us any details.

Unless their situations take an unexpected turn, Smith and Borho will be spending their golden years penniless, even though they spent years saving substantial amounts of money.

"This man is the great pretender, the great deceiver. He's done terrible things to people," Schultz said.

"He's done everything he's going to do to my dad other than put him in the grave," Borho said. "And that's what he's working on now."
 

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