Elkhart man accused of fraud scheme and murder plot

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An Elkhart man is accused of conning victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, then planning to kill them.

Investigators believe Charles Ray Smith took at least $320,000 from four victims, telling them to expect millions in return for investments like a cancer treatments or commercial property. Instead, FBI officers accuse Smith of using the money to put a down payment on a house, and may have planned to kill the victims he ripped off.

Smith sat through his first court hearing, Monday. He’s charged with federal wire fraud. According to a probable cause affidavit, Smith has recruited investors in and around Elkhart since 2009, for a non existent investment group. Prosecutors say none of the victims have seen a return from their investments.

Once investigators started talking to victims, a confidential source with the FBI said Smith made arrangements to have the victims and others killed.

If convicted, Charles Ray Smith could face 20 years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines, and restitution to the victims. 

Smith is back in court for a probable cause hearing, Tuesday.

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