”That’s a big chunk when you’ve worked all your life,” said Mrs. Curtis.The Curtises, a couple in their 60s who live in Clayton, a Dayton, Ohio, suburb, first came into contact with Fiorini in 1998.
Mr. Curtis, a retired heating and air conditioning engineer, had money from a 401(k) plan he wanted to invest and draw interest from for living expenses. The couple heard Bob Braun on the radio touting an investment plan that sounded ideal. ”He was endorsing this George Fiorini, who had the Ten Percent Plus Plan that would guarantee you 10 percent interest.”
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Fiorini’s pitch was that the couple would be able to draw a monthly income check after making an investment in the plan, Mr. Curtis recalled. ”That’s what we were looking for.”The Curtises invested and did receive monthly checks for about six months, leading them to put more money into the plan, they said.They also decided to invest money from an IRA with Fiorini. That account was turned over to Ventre and Guardian, Mr. Curtis said.
”He (Fiorini) said ‘I can’t handle the IRA, but I know somebody else who’ll take care of it, and you’ll still get your 10 percent monthly check,” Mr. Curtis said.But in June or July, the Guardian checks stopped, and Ventre said no more money would be coming, according to Mrs. Curtis.”He said he wasn’t supposed to do that to start with but he was doing it because George (Fiorini) had set it up that way,” Mr. Curtis said.Their lawsuit claims Fiorini and Ventre misrepresented facts and that some of the securities they sold were unregistered with state regulators, in violation of securities laws.
Fiorini did not return calls seeking comment, but he has denied any wrongdoing in his formal answer to the lawsuit. Guardian is expected to answer the suit next week, said the Curtises’ attorney, Paul Schwarz.Ventre could not be reached for comment.Patrick Hanley, an attorney for Guardian, said Fiorini was an agent who raised funds for Guardian but that Guardian has nothing to do with the Ten Percent Income Plus Plan.”There’s no relationship between the two,” Hanley said. The plan ”is a Fiorini concept that he has been using for years,” even before Guardian existed, Hanley said.