Ponzi Scheme in the Hill Stole Millions from Elderly Victims

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Princeton Partnership LLC, in the Hill neighborhood in St. Louis.
Two Missouri insurance brokers pleaded guilty to stealing $3 million from elderly victims in a six-year fraud the U.S. Attorney's office calls a Ponzi scheme.

From their offices in the Hill neighborhood in St. Louis, Robert Palmer, 45, of Kansas City, Missouri, and Mark Driver, 50, of St. Louis, stole their customers' real estate, stocks, and life insurance annuities and used them to pay for their business or for personal items, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. They also used the money to pay off old customers who falsely believed they were seeing returns on their investments.

See also: St. Louis Funeral Scam: Father, Son Plead Guilty In $600 Million Ponzi Scheme

Palmer and Driver, who ran Princeton Partnership LLC at Marconi Street and Daggett Avenue -- face four felony charges of mail and wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.

Here's how the scheme worked:

- In 2004, Palmer convinced a family who had received money from the death of an elderly aunt to transfer some or all of that money to Princeton Partnership.

- In 2005, Palmer took money from an elderly woman and her family by saying he would invest her money into a real estate investment for her benefit.

- From 2006 to 2010, Palmer convinced two elderly sisters to transfer their investment funds over to Princeton so he could make investments with the money. The sisters transferred that money and control of their stock holdings. Palmer and Driver sold and liquidated the stocks and spent the money on themselves and their business. Later, they also convinced one sister to liquidate a life insurance policy and give the money to Princeton Partnership.

- In 2006, Driver convinced an elderly woman to invest her privately held funds in four life insurance annuities through Princeton Partnership. A few years later, he told her to liquidate three of them and give the money to Driver under the false representation that he would invest it to her benefit.

- From 2007 to 2009, Driver took investment funds and control of stock from an elderly woman.

Palmer and Driver will be sentenced in September. The FBI, the Postal Inspection Service and the Missouri Secretary of State's Office investigated the case.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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28 comments
Frank Corona
Frank Corona

Greed, suspends heathy skepticism. A fool and their money.........

Diana Miller Piantanida
Diana Miller Piantanida

Why is The Hill highlighted in this article? It is only the location of their office. The men are not from The Hill nor do they claim to being Italian. Hope this doesn't give The Hill a negative image.

Joshua Ryan Horn
Joshua Ryan Horn

Please stop recycling stories. I follow an independent publisher @40 South News and a single guy puts out 2-3 local stories a day. I'm sure there are more writers than 1 @rft!

Tim Corkill
Tim Corkill

That area of the city has always been notorious for thieving scumbags

Loré Boggess-Hayes
Loré Boggess-Hayes

They should be hung from their toes over a fire ant hill, then have honey poured all over them...

Pamela Austin Russo
Pamela Austin Russo

Driver is a serious problem - personally and professionally. Glad they were caught before it happened to other elderly folks. Makes me sick to my stomach.

Jenny Morton
Jenny Morton

This makes me sick, I worry all the time about people taking advantage of my 86 year old mom.

Kerry Russell
Kerry Russell

They have not been in this building for quite some time, BTW..Riverfront Times you might want to mention that considering the building is under new ownership and their are new tenants in it. Just saying....

King Stitches
King Stitches

I hate to hear bad news happen to the Elderly.

SRV1990
SRV1990

I'm sure you have examples?  Or are you just a tool?

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

"No", not "know". "Know" makes no sense in this context. 

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