Elkhart man accused of fraud scheme and murder plot

NOW: Elkhart man accused of fraud scheme and murder plot

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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