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Woman Charged with Defrauding Investors $500,000

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Feb. 1, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Deborah Cheryl Bennett, 56, has been indicted on eight felony counts in connection with an Arizona investment scheme that defrauded 32 investors of more than $500,000.

When she operated the alleged scheme in 2006 and 2007, Bennett was active in social and civic affairs in the Phoenix area. She subsequently moved to Kenosha, Wis., remarried and changed her name to Deborah Cheryl Paura.

Bennett is alleged to have represented herself as a stock trader, though she did not hold a license to sell securities, and promised investors that she would invest their money in stocks at a guaranteed high rate of return – in some cases 20 to 30 percent monthly.  She also guaranteed that she would return the principal to the investors.  She instead took a portion of the funds for her personal use and did not return the principal.

As a result of her actions, which took place in Maricopa County, she was charged with:

  • One count of fraudulent schemes and artifices
  • Five counts of theft
  • One count of fraud in purchase or sale of securities
  • One count of transactions by unregistered dealer

Her arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3, in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The case was investigated by the Arizona Corporation Commission and is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson.  A copy of the indictment is attached.  For questions, please contact Steve Wilson at 602-542-8351.