Durham man draws 15-20 years for swindling educators
A Durham man accused of taking more than $1 million from educators was sentenced Tuesday to 15 to 20 years in prison after he pled guilty to more than 40 charges of securities fraud, common law forgery and common law uttering.
Walter Reinhardt, 65, was sentenced in Durham County Superior Court by Judge Bryan Collins.
Liz Proctor, a spokeswoman with the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office, said Reinhardt solicited investments from November 2005 to May 2009, asking people to invest in businesses owned by a man in Richmond. Investors were told they could earn 8 to 10 percent interest over four years.
Reinhardt allegedly talked his way into faculty meetings at schools and would convince teachers to invest with him. Prosecutors from the Secretary of State's Office said Reinhardt told at least one investor that former Gov. Jim Hunt and former University of North Carolina President C.D. Spangler were clients.
There are believed to be another 37 victims in North Carolina who lost an additional $2 million to Reinhardt, according to Zesley Haislip Jr., a senior enforcement attorney for the Securities Division of the Secretary of State's Office.
Investigators said Reinhardt didn't tell clients he was not registered as an investment adviser and was banned from the securities business.
A professor at N.C Central University said she lost $267,000 investing with Reinhardt. The family of an associate professor at A&T University in Greensboro lost $200,000 and an educator in New York who retired to Durham said she lost more than $100,000 and is now broke.
The National Association of Securities Dealers banned Reinhardt in 2001 from selling securities, and the state Securities Division issued a cease and desist order against him in 2007 for the unregistered sale of securities.
Reinhardt was charged in November 2010 and has remained in the Durham County Jail under $4 million bond.