Ramble On

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Page County Ponzi Scheme?

The second item I saw in last week’s PN&C was an article about a Ponzi scheme that took place in Page County. This one involved the majority owner of a local coffee roaster, which was known as Bean East Corporation. In Luray, it was known as Kiariz – which has been renamed Callao Coffee, and the new owners are “looking to move ahead.”

(Author's Note: I misidentified the building in the photo in my original post. This building housed 58 West internet cafe. They sold Kiariz Coffee there, but were not otherwise associated with Kiariz. The post has been edited to correct the mis-id.)
Here's an old photo of 58 West internet cafe's downtown location, one location where Kiariz was sold. Both Chris and Mary liked this place very much – Chris raved about their lattes, and Mary would enjoy visiting and using the internet in the shop there. The cafe folded up about the same time that the Kiariz story was coming out. It was a disappointment for us all to see it go.

The Ponzi scheme worked by the majority owner promising investors very high rates of interest for loans. The interest rates were justified with bogus contracts for coffee supplies – he even invoked the name of a trusted US brand, Folgers. In a Ponzi scheme, the proceeds from new investor funds are used to pay the old investors, with the schemer taking a substantial amount for himself.

In this case, Moledina, the mastermind, was charged with taking $16-million from 26 people. He has pled guilty to the charges, which include charges of wire fraud and various forgeries. From the PN&C story, there is no suggestion of a Moledina connection with the minority owners or current owners as far as the Ponzi activities go.

It’s hard not to associate this event with the activities of the former Page County Sherriff Presgraves (I haven’t posted on developments in his case in some time, I’m due – check out the ‘Presgraves’ label on the right for past posts). I guess this is because the county has such a small population that these cases always emerge as high profile situations.

As far as an impact on the Page County Economy, Kiariz is gone but there are new owners - I was glad to learn that the business has survived. I’m sure there is a lot of hard work ahead for them to recover from this blow, but I’d like to think they’ll make it.

The bright spot in all of this, also as highlighted in this week’s PN&C…the Brick Oven Pizzeria, which was a landmark in Stanley, has relocated to the former 58 West location in Luray. It’s a bigger location for the pizzeria, and it will offer sit down service. I was very excited to see a local business have the good fortune of this significant opportunity for growth – Mary and I are looking forward to a lunch visit!


Brian McGowan said...

Ponzi scheme? Isn't that some kinda Japanese minature tree?

Great tune!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mary!

Brian McGowan said...

And what is the deal? No David dancing with lamps?!

Jim said...

Youtube took down the Stop Making Sense videos that were up there due to a copyright request. That is probably the case with any of the old Talking Heads stuff. David might take these others down too, but he is more open minded about the publicity. My take on his relationship with the fans and the industry, anyway.