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COPY-Man accused of bilking elderly of $1.9 million

Associated Press - December 9, 2009 9:14 AM ET

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois man is accused of targeting the elderly in an investment scheme federal prosecutors say let him pocket more than $1.9 million.

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted 44-year-old Lavern Huelsmann of Trenton on charges of mail fraud and engaging in a transaction of more than $10,000 from property tied to that crime.

Federal prosecutors say Huelsmann was only licensed to sell approved life insurance and fixed-annuity products but instead was peddling bogus investments to elderly people.

The indictment alleges Huelsmann used the money on his own investments, building and furnishing his home, gambling and buying gold coins, diamond jewelry and heavy equipment.

Huelsmann hasn't returned a message seeking comment left at his home Wednesday.

Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

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