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Million dollar scam: How a financial juggler has been ripping off investors for years

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Million dollar scam: How a financial juggler has been ripping off investors for years

For years, entrepreneur Wolfgang Hoeft and his network of MW companies have cheated investors nationwide out of their money. The Bonn public prosecutor’s office is currently investigating him. The accusation: fraud in connection with financial investments. picture alliance / dpa | Oliver Berg, Getty Images / Bloomberg Creative/ MW Group/ Graphics: Dominik Schmitt

Michael has been hunting for more than half a year (name changed) after a phantom. The entrepreneur from southern Germany only knows the name of the man who owes him thousands of euros. But it doesn’t matter which address Michael goes to and which doors he rings. Michael never sees the suspected fraudster. Sometimes Michael is desperate, sometimes angry. But the entrepreneur doesn’t think about giving up. As Michael tells us today, the man owes him too much money for that.

It’s about 150,000 euros that Michael invested in a silent partnership in MW Finance GmbH in Düsseldorf in November 2022. This should have a fixed annual interest rate of 2.5 percent. His insurance advisor had previously raved to him about the “highly lucrative” financial investment products from the MW Finance Group. She had given him expert advice on all insurance matters for five years, so he trusted her.

But when the entrepreneur demands the money back at the agreed end of the contract, June 30, 2023, his requests suddenly come to nothing. Whenever Michael asks his advisor about the outstanding money, she refers to her boss, Wolfgang Hoeft. The man that Michael has been hunting ever since and from whom he wants his money. But to date he has neither received the money he invested nor the promised return. “I should have asked more questions about what exactly it was and who was actually behind it,” he tells us. “But the MW Finance group had a very serious demeanor when it came to the whole insurance issue. And today I would say that this is probably the scam: they use the insurance issue to get to customers in order to then sell these investments somehow,” explains Michael.

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The entrepreneur from southern Germany is not alone with his experience. Research by Business Insider shows that behind the MW Finance Group there is a complex network of companies that are ripping off investors across Germany. The mastermind is Wolfgang Hoeft. Years before Michael, investors began to chase the entrepreneur because their invested money was only partially paid back or not at all. They are still looking for their money to this day. Lawyers for those affected estimate that hundreds of investors were cheated out of their money and the damage runs into the millions. But although the authorities such as the public prosecutor in Bonn are already investigating Hoeft for fraud in connection with financial investments, he can continue.

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