Charges: 'Safe Money Radio' host in W. Minn. cheated investors out of $2M
- Article by: Paul Walsh
- Star Tribune
- September 19, 2013 - 8:38 PM
A one-time host of “Safe Money Radio” in western Minnesota has allegedly contradicted the show’s title by swindling investors who said they had invested proceeds from the sale of their farms or life savings.
Jeffrey C. Rodd, 49, of Redwood Falls, was charged this week in federal court with four counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud in connection with the scam that spanned more than three years.
In February, regulators with the state Commerce Department ordered Rodd to halt his scheme and fined him $300,000. The agency said Rodd’s victims included four elderly people, one of them with dementia, and others who said they turned over their entire life savings to Rodd, with some raising their investments by selling their farmland.
Rodd was charged federally by summons.
An executive at a Redwood Falls station that carried Rodd’s show said that while he was stealing from clients he would try to appear generous to the community by sending gifts of food to families in need.
“He did that frequently for families in the community, trying to come off as philanthropic,” said KLGR news director Laura Olson, whose AM station aired Rodd’s show on Saturday afternoons.
“It was very upsetting to the community” when news of the allegations against him surfaced, she said.
According to the federal indictment:
Starting in April 2009 on “Safe Money Radio,” Rodd discussed and marketed on several southern Minnesota stations various low-risk investments, typically annuities issued by a variety of insurance companies.
Over a period extending into late last year, Rodd met with about two dozen potential investors, some of them existing clients, and pushed them to invest in the annuity program. Rodd promised the investors returns of up to 60 percent within six months, pledging that their money was safe and easily accessible.
Rodd’s false promises drew at least $1.9 million from his clients, some of which he used to make modest payments to the earlier investors as a way of keeping the money coming in, according to the indictment. One investor sent Rodd two $100,000 wire transfers eight days apart in May 2012.
Prosecutors estimate that investors’ net losses were at least $700,000. Rodd used the proceeds to buy airtime for his radio program and to pay business and personal expenses, authorities said.
Over the course of the scheme, Rodd bought two vehicles, both for roughly $40,000 each. He has been ordered to forfeit one of them, a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482
© 2013 Star Tribune