If an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if an investment sounds too good to be true and has Bill O’Reilly is endorsing it: run for the hills! As The Daily Beast reports, a company called National Realty Investment Advisors — which O’Reilly shilled for via Facebook ads and enormous billboards in the New York City area — is reportedly nothing but a Ponzi scheme.
The company, which was purportedly a real estate investment company, let people sink as little as just a few thousand dollars into the company, and promised returns of 12 percent and higher. Which would, of course, be great — if it were true. As The Daily Beast’s Pilar Melendez wrote:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey announced an 18-count indictment, including charges of securities and wire fraud, against Thomas Nicholas Salzano and Rey E. Grabato II for their role in the almost four-year-long alleged scheme. The pair also allegedly tried to evade $26 million in taxes. Salzano was also charged with aggravated identity theft, tax evasion, and subscribing to false tax returns. Prosecutors said he was arrested on Wednesday, while Grabato was on the lam. Lawyers for Salzano did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gee, we can’t imagine why.
On Thursday, the SEC filed charges against the organization, claiming they had stolen money from approximately 2,000 investors by promising that their “investments” would be used to purchase and develop high-end properties. “The group solicited investigators with promises of returns ‘of up to 20 percent,’” writes The Daily Beast. “Among the investors were 382 retirees who contributed more than $94.8 million from retirement accounts.”
While O’Reilly has not been named in the lawsuit, a big image of his mug was used to encourage others to invest — on TV, in magazines, and via Facebook ads — meaning that Bill certainly isn’t totally blameless in all of this.