Part 1: Biography
Born to Jewish Iraqi parents one week after they came to America, Ingrid Robinson was the first generation of her family of five children to become an American citizen, and spent her childhood in Great Neck, New York.
Ingrid began a long career in the garment industry in New York City, where she eventually became the highest paid female salesperson in the industry.
After she moved to San Francisco, California, Ingrid purchased a home in Marin County where she raised her daughter, Michelle, as a single mother, and worked as a buyer and consultant to approximately 1,000 stores, travelling almost every week to Los Angeles, New York and other states in the U.S. She gained a highly respected national reputation in the fashion industry, as a successful entrepreneur and fashion consultant with an excellent eye for spotting trends. She appeared regularly in “California Apparel News” and “Women's Wear Daily”.
Looking for a new challenge, Ingrid left the fashion industry to return to college and received a Masters degree in Psychology. She then completed an internship as a family court mediator in Alameda County; was a marriage/family intern therapist for Jewish Family Services, San Rafael, CA and school counselor for Wade Thomas School, San Anselmo, CA and Brookside Middle School, San Anselmo, CA and a family counselor at Novato Youth Center, Novato, CA
As a result of her implementing an orientation program for parents who were separating or divorcing in Alameda, Ingrid elicited positive results and praise. Parents went through mediation faster, easier and with substantially less acrimony by no longer putting their children in the middle of their battles. As a result, Alameda County changed their entire orientation program to follow the model that Ingrid had created. While Ingrid continued to work, she and Michelle traveled frequently together on ski trips and to Europe.
Suddenly, at age 28, Michelle, died of a drug overdose. Having lost the ability to read and write because of the trauma, Ingrid left her career as a family therapist to hopefully chart a new life devoid of any further trauma, stress or chaos.
After years of mourning and recovery, while also gutting and redecorating her home, Ingrid longed to find a way to show that her daughter mattered and that she had existed in this world. Ingrid discovered a quaint town north of San Francisco, Clearlake, California, where she purchased a lakeside property with the goal of building a mixed-use resort with townhouses and boutique shops in dedication to Michelle’s memory, to be called “Michelle’s Diamond”.
Excited with a new purpose in life, Ingrid sought additional financing to complete her project. Through brokers, Ingrid was put in touch with Remington Financial Group to invest in her project. Remington Financial Group requested that Ingrid provide $10,000 for “due diligence fees” to complete the paperwork. After a reasonable amount of time, no progress was being made so Ingrid placed phone calls for several months requesting a refund. She never saw her money again. Ingrid became a “Mother on a Mission.”
Ingrid Robinson became a de facto fraud investigator as she discovered through online research that many more investors had been scammed by Remington. She organized the Stop Remington Financial Group coalition with other victims, and reported her findings to federal authorities which eventually led to a five year investigation by the FBI and the Securities Commission of PA. They compiled a list of two thousand victims with total losses of over $25 million. Ingrid coordinated efforts between federal agencies, and eventually succeeded in bringing Remington to justice, after they had committed the largest advance fee fraud against average business citizens in U.S. history. Andrew Bogdanoff, Founder and President of Remington Financial Group, was sentenced to 18-years in prison. Other agents involved with Remington have pled guilty, and Co-Founder, Matthew McManus’ testimonial hearing occurred in late 2014. Ingrid continues to work with Congress in hopes of creating new legislation for investment brokers for private businesses.
Ms. Robinson earned her Masters Degree in Psychology from Cal State University, Hayward and a Bachelor of Science from Dominican University, San Rafael, California. She also attended Empire Law School, Santa Rosa, CA in 2012 and 2013.
Ingrid continues to reside north of San Francisco, California with her two dogs, Clint and Ace.
Part 2: Timeline of Events
November 16, 1998 - Michelle Robinson dies
September, 2006 - $10,000 payment by Ingrid to Remington Financial Group
June, 2008 - Ingrid’s first contact with Federal authorities. She spoke to the FBI in Philadelphia and an agent was assigned to the case. No Assistant U.S. Attorney had been assigned to the case at that time.
November, 2009 - Ingrid has first contact with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
January, 2010 - First Assistant U.S. Attorney is assigned to the case.
March 20, 2010 - Assistant U.S. Attorney David Axelrod replaces previously appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney. The investigation really begins now.
March 16, 2011 - Federal agents raid Remington offices in Arizona and Colorado.
April, 2012 – More than one year later, eight men are indicted and six plead “not guilty.” Two agree to come in on "information." In other words, they are informally pleading guilty.
All eight are charged with:
1 count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud;
1 count of mail fraud
10 counts of wire fraud
10 counts of money laundering;
1 count of defrauding the United States
8 counts of filing false tax returns
1 count of obstruction of justice
1 count of giving false statements to the federal government
June, 2012 - Ingrid first contacts Cindy Lackner, ex-wife of Andrew Bogdanoff, and uses the alias, “Polly Smith”, claiming to be a researcher for a book being written about Andy and Remington Financial. A casual friendship develops between the two after Cindy begins to talk to Ingrid not “Polly”.
August, 2012 - Ingrid tells federal agents including the prosecutor, David Axelrod, of her relationship with Cindy.
September, 2012 - Federal agents hint that they need information as to where Andy may have hidden money. Ingrid volunteers to ask Cindy if she knows anything.
October, 2012 - Ingrid learns that Cindy has access to a Bank of America debit card that she and Andy used. Cindy tells Ingrid that Andy was getting out-of-state deposits and writing $1500 monthly checks to an Arizona law firm. Ingrid gives account information to federal agents.
November, 2012 - Cindy calls Ingrid and is very upset due to the fact that Andy deposited two checks from Remington Financial totaling $30,000 into their joint account. Cindy fears Andy will find out about her relationship with Ingrid and hurt her and the children. She wants to give the account password to Ingrid, who immediately asks the federal agents what to do.
December, 2012 – Federal agents contact Ingrid and Cindy and inform them that they have the account information and want verification from both women that they never asked us for any of this information. Both say, “absolutely correct–we did this on our own.” Federal agents say they have legal means to get information and Ingrid and Cindy promise to not track the account any more. Both women hear nothing from anyone after this.
April, 2013 - Andrew Bogdanoff is brought to Philadelphia for a hearing and is charged with continuing the scam two weeks after being indicted while using an alias. He is immediately placed into a federal detention facility to await his trial. Ingrid is convinced that that this development is a result of the information she had given the federal agents after her conversations with Cindy.
August, 2013 – Ingrid meets with U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger, prosecutor and FBI agent Leah Chambers in Philadelphia to thank them and discuss plans to lobby Congress for legislation
August, 2013 - One week after the above meeting, Andy Bogdanoff and his son Aaron plead guilty and remain in jail.
October, 2013 – Trial scheduled for Matthew McManus is continued. By this time, all defendants have pleaded guilty except Matthew.
December, 2013 - Andy asks for sentencing hearing for him to go as scheduled. He wants to leave the detention facility to go to a federal prison because of better conditions in federal prison. The motion is denied. He remains in the detention center. The sentencing hearing is rescheduled for after the trial of Matthew McManus.
February, 2014 – The Matthew McManus trial lasts almost four weeks. He is found guilty on all charges (including obstruction of justice) by the jury in less than four hours. Federal authorities are ecstatic.
March 25, 2014 – Ingrid goes to Washington, D.C. to speak to members of Congress about introducing a bill to help victims of financial frauds.
March 26, 2014 – Ingrid speaks at Andy Bogdanoff's sentencing hearing (see below for the full statement*). Bogdanoff pleads guilty to charges and receives 18.4 years in prison and is ordered to pay $21 million in restitution. This is virtually a life sentence because of his age (68 years old). He is not eligible for parole or reduced time. Andy is now in a federal prison in El Paso, TX, earning no more than $300 a month so he will never be able to pay any restitution.
June, 2014–Sentencing of six defendants:
Joel Nathanson sentenced to 1 year in prison and owes $15 million restitution;
Shayne Fowler, 21 months in prison and $18 million restitution;
Aaron Bogdanoff, 2 years probation and $142,000 restitution;
Dan Gura, 6 months in prison and almost $18 million restitution;
Tyler Hufford, 8 months in prison and $15 million restitution; and,
Frank Vogel was also indicted by Michigan State, pled guilty and was sentenced there.
July 23, 2014 - Matthew MacManus received a second sentencing hearing continuance and sentencing will take place in late 2014. Maximum sentence will be 18.4 years in prison for all the fraud charges but he can get more if the judge adds years for obstruction of justice charge. Ingrid will speak at his sentencing hearing.
Fall, 2014 - Ingrid takes her story to the people via her first lecture tour
2015 - Ingrid Robinson’s memoirs to be published in book form
2016 – Feature film, currently in development, to be released
Video Profiles of Ingrid Robinson
• CNBC's "Crime & Punishment"
• KPIX (CBS) San Francisco
• NBC Bay Area TV (San Francisco)
Articles about the Remington Financial Fraud case
"Philadelphia Inquirer", February 21, 2014
Financier Convicted of Defrauding Nearly 2,000 Clients
by Jeremy R. Roebuck
"The Republic", March 27, 2014
Founder of Scottsdale's Remington Capital Sentenced in $26M Scheme
by Peter Corbett
CBS KWY Newsradio, March 27, 2014
Long Prison Sentence For Swindler Brings Satisfaction to One Victim
by Tony Hanson
"Philadelphia Inquirer", Philly News.com, March 29, 2014
Long Prison Term in $26 Million Fraud
by Jeremy R. Roebuck
"Erin Arvedlund Blog", March 31, 2014
by Erin Arvedlund
Bloomberg News, May 2, 2014
Mom's Fight for Daughter's Legacy Spurs Lender Fee Crackdown
by Sophia Pearson
"The New York Times", May 2, 2014
A Fraud Case Offers a Cautionary Tale of Finance:
Ingrid Robinson collected evidence against officials of a company
that defrauded her, including Andrew Bogdanoff
by Peter DaSilva
*Statement to the Judge by Ingrid Robinson at the sentencing of Andrew Bogdanoff on March 26, 2014
My only child, Michelle, died on November 16,1998 and in that moment, my life completely changed. I lost my identity. I no longer knew who I was, how to behave, what to do with myself. Every moment after her death, all I wanted to do was die. I told everybody there was no difference between myself and my daughter other than she was under the ground and I was above. Though I looked and probably sounded as though I was still on earth, I was "gone." I no longer existed.
Several months after her death, I went to the cemetery. I know this is going to sound somewhat silly, but I went there to ask for her permission to keep living. I didn't want to die yet. At that time, I didn't know why I wanted to live, just that I had to. I couldn't stop crying because I felt I was abandoning her, but I knew I didn't want to die. A year after her death, I did have a nervous breakdown. I could not wrap my head around the fact she was gone and I was still alive. If a parent has never experienced the loss of a child, than you can't imagine the pain and agony one must go through on a daily basis...moment to moment.
It did take me a few years before I decided what I needed to do. I realized that if I died no one would remember my daughter ever existed, no one would ever remember me...no one would even remember my mother. I have no family...my daughter was it. I am just an average, simple woman that has had to fight for everything I have in my life. No one has ever given me anything. I worked for every penny I've ever earned. I decided I needed to create a legacy for my daughter...but I didn't want to leave something ordinary...I wanted it to be special. I wanted the world to know I was a mother who loved her daughter very, very much. I decided to buy some land in the wine country in Northern CA. This land, however, was no ordinary piece of land. Had the project been developed as I had envisioned it, it would have changed the face of Northern CA. The land was in the shape of a diamond and was known as the Diamond of Clearlake. I renamed it "Michelle's Diamond". I was going to develop upscale town homes and retail stores in a city that was desperate to be refurbished. I had the support of the entire city, from the mayor to the city planner. All were excited about my project and were doing everything they could to help me get the land ready for development. I began to look for funding.
I came upon some commercial brokers, Vantage Real Estate, in Irvine, CA and after reading my prospectus, convinced me they felt as strongly about my project as I did. As an aside your honor, I didn't know this at the time, there are no federal regulations in place anywhere for commercial brokers. My assumption, as well as the assumption of most people in this country, is that commercial brokers fall under the same guidelines as mortgage brokers. Brokers are brokers. The difference is however, commercial brokers get their money from 3rd parties...private investors, hedge funds, wherever...while mortgage brokers get their money through banks, which is heavily regulated. A commercial broker can refer a potential "victim" or client to a company like Remington without doing any due diligence, or even if they did and knew the company would never finance the client's project, they would still get paid a handsome referral fee by the "investor"...to the tune of 30% of every dollar they brought in as the initial fee to the "investor". In the eyes of the law, they've done nothing illegal. Remington knew this and worked with hundreds of commercial brokers, not just in the U.S., but globally. That portion of the victim's money is forever gone and we have absolutely no legal recourse. The brokers at Vantage swore to me that they had done many deals with Remington and that Remington was a phenomenal company. Little did I know, they had no clue who Remington was and had received a flier from them offering them a 30% referral fee. Stupidly, I took their advice and paid Remington $10k. I was told by Joel Nathanson, Remington's account executive, they had read my prospectus, loved my project and that if I paid them the $10k, they would use that money to do their due diligence and when my project was funded, they would credit me back the $10k. I was uncomfortable wiring the money, but because I was assured and promised by my commercial brokers Remington was terrific, I went along with their terms.
To make a very long story short, Remington rejected my project with no reasons given. At first I was shocked and then embarrassed. I couldn't believe I had just handed over $10k to someone and got absolutely nothing for it. I didn't know what to do...I didn't even know if I had any legal recourse. I then called Mr. Bogdanoff and explained my situation to him. He told me he would try and get to the bottom of this whole thing and see what he could do. I needed to give him a little time so that he could investigate the matter. I waited a few weeks, called him again and asked what had transpired. He then referred me to the PA office and Andy McManus. In the meantime, I finally decided to do a little of my own investigation and found a few articles on the Internet which indicated Remington and Mr. Bogdanoff were frauds. I spoke to Andy McManus and demanded my money back. Mr. McManus' response to me was, "What am I missing here? We're doing everything we can to fund your project. You sound like a hysterical woman." It was at that precise moment, I became a mother-on-a-mission. I said to him, "If you think I am hysterical now, just wait. I will become your worst nightmare." 7 years later, I now stand before you. 8 men indicted, all found guilty.
It was not the money that was stolen from me that got me so angry. It was because they robbed me of my legacy for Michelle. I did nothing wrong. I followed the rules but they robbed me of my dream. They made me feel like a complete failure...that I was stupid and could do nothing to honor my daughter. It's one thing to steal money from me, it's certainly another to make me feel I was a bad or inadequate mother. I may not have been able to save my daughter's life, but I sure as hell could right a wrong. I gave up 7 years of my life to get to this day. I was never motivated by revenge or even the hope I would get my money back. I knew the money was gone. I did this because I was honoring my daughter. NO ONE would ever accuse me of not loving my daughter enough. I wanted to create something lasting and beautiful to honor Michelle and these guys made it all ugly and dirty by lying and stealing my dreams from me.
I have spoken to hundreds of Remington victims, as well as Madoff and Stanford victims. Some of their stories are horror stories. Many lost their life savings, their businesses...some their entire livelihoods. All we did was believe in the American dream. We're the "nobodies" of the world and all these fraudsters knew it. They KNEW exactly how much money they could steal from us and not wave any red flags. They KNEW the government would never follow-up in spite of all the sanctions issued against them. They KNEW how to fly under the radar for almost 20 years and never get caught. And not once did they show any remorse or refund our money. In fact, Mr. Bogdanoff, though he has pled guilty, is sitting in jail and has been there for almost a year, still contends he's innocent. 2 weeks after he was indicted and swore to the court he was indigent, he continued his fraud using an alias and was paying a 5 star professionally rated law firm $1500 a month to hide his assets.
Your honor, we are the faceless victims of this country. What made this case so unique was not the amount of dollars stolen, though it was substantial, it was the number of victims and how far-reaching the Remington crime was. It was designed to hit the middle class and it was executed brilliantly. It should never have been discovered and probably could have gone on forever, if it wasn't for ALL of us working together. It took the resources of the federal government to bring these men down. No one state could have done it, nor no one agency because there were so many victims in so many different states. There was no concentration of victims in any one area. This is one of those very rare instances where the federal government actually worked with a private citizen, listened and HEARD all those thousands of voices across the country praying, asking and demanding for justice of some kind.
I will not be at the sentencing hearing for all the men indicted. I have chosen to be here for Mr. Bogdanoff's hearing because both he and Matthew McManus were the ring-leaders of this brilliant scam. They are now asking and hoping for leniency and on behalf of all the thousands of financial fraud victims who have never gotten any kind of opportunity for justice, I ask that you please remember my words and my struggle to get to this day and give ALL of these men the maximum prison term within your power. Some of us will never recover from the devastation we received as the result of the crimes these men perpetrated on us. We, in fact, even have to pay for their room and board over the next few years. Who is helping us recover what these men stole from all of us? Some of us have spent years and will spend more years, just trying to survive and recover from our losses. This is a country that was created by the people, for the people. You now have an opportunity to put a face on the federal government. You now have an opportunity to create a bridge between the government and the people. I represent the people, you the federal government.
Almost 2000 individuals were proven to be victims in just 5 years of investigating this crime. God knows how many more thousands fell out because of time and circumstances and the thought there’s nothing we can do to get justice or even be heard by anyone with any government power. Please hear my voice when each man comes in front of you for sentencing. Some of them will get out of prison and be young enough to start new lives...but what about us, the victims? At the very least, PLEASE give them the maximum prison term you can. They don’t deserve less for what they’ve done to thousands of people all over the world. It took everybody to make this day happen...from victims to the Dept. of Justice, to the U.S. Attorney, to the prosecution, to the FBI, to the IRS, to the media to countless other people, agents and agencies I don’t even know about. Perhaps I sound a little naive, but I want to believe in miracles, happy endings, fairy tales and our judicial system. We can make this a better world, if we can all work together. This case proves it.
Ingrid Robinson is available for speeches, seminars and panel discussions. For further information about programs offered and fees, please contact
MasterMedia Speakers Bureau
14 Laurel Drive
Easthampton, MA 01027-2577
800-453-2887 Phone (USA)
413-529-1769 Phone (Outside USA)
888-359-1647 Fax (USA)
413-529-7120 Fax (Outside USA)