Thursday, March 24, 2011 | 9:57 a.m.
A man charged with securities fraud and theft for allegedly swindling $250,000 from a married couple who consulted him on how to invest profits from the sale of their home is scheduled to appear today for an initial hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court, the Nevada Attorney General's office announced.
Richard Bernstein faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted. Bernstein, who represents himself as an executive and life coach, allegedly recommended that the couple invest in a new business venture called Turn-Key Financial Group that he was to run.
Bernstein allegedly told the couple he would match their investment in Turn-Key and that all of the money the victims invested would be used to pay legitimate business expenses. Instead, Bernstein allegedly invested none of his own money in the venture and converted about $125,000 of the victims' investment for his personal use, including purchase of a Bentley and BMW vehicles for himself and his wife.
Bernstein also allegedly failed to disclose his criminal record, which includes a conviction for credit card fraud. It is also alleged that he didn't reveal numerous civil judgments for breach of contract or two Internal Revenue Service liens totaling more than $200,000 in unpaid taxes that have been recorded against him.