Feds say loan requests for birthday gifts were scam
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - For years, Beverly De Ronde of Pella sent relatives and friends hand-written notes asking them to loan her money so she could surprise her husband with gifts.
She would claim she needed to buy soon because of a big sale, and thanked them profusely for helping make his dreams come true. She promised to pay the loans back with interest.
But in a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, prosecutors say the letters were part of a 7-year, $730,000 Ponzi scheme. They say she used the money to buy jewelry, antiques and other items for herself, and then borrowed more to try to pay off earlier lenders.
De Ronde has been charged with 12 counts of mail fraud, and ordered to appear in court next month. Her phone rang unanswered Friday morning.
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