Alleged Ponzi scheme targets seniors

Charles Blackwelder
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An attorney and his daughter are arrested, charged with bilking millions out of Hoosier investors.

"$23 million is what documents are saying," said Amy Miller, spokesperson for the Indiana Secretary of State.

She says most of the victims of the alleged real estate Ponzi scheme were senior citizens. The Secretary of State's office says Charles Blackwelder got investors to buy shares in residential and commercial rental properties, but there were two problems: some of the properties were already sold to others or foreclosed on and also, Blackwelder was not licensed to sell securities.

At some of the houses Blackwelder was involved with, current renters didn't want to talk about the situation. One man told us he was not at liberty to talk about the case.

But at one home, a renter was shocked at the $23 million in alleged fraud.

"Are you serious?" she asked.

Those renters are moving out. They knew something was up. They've paid rent to multiple property managers since the state started shutting down Blackwelder's operation two years ago.

"It's sad. It's amazing to have a number that high and that many people affected. Just unfortunate, but I'm glad people are taking care of it," Nick Treadway said.

Blackwelder's daughter, Cara Grumme, is also charged.

"Ninety-nine percent of cases we see are caused by unregistered investments or investment advisors," Miller said. "The best thing investors can do is check with our website or call our office to make sure the investment is registered and the person they are dealing with is registered."

The investment allowed seniors to ensure their Medicare benefits were not affected by the amount of cash they had.