EXCLUSIVE: Alpine philanthropist Lenora Klein, Englewood restaurant owner Carlo Bartolomeo and Bergenfield photographer/writer Elizabeth R. Burchard were among a group of Bergen County victims taken in by a con artist who pocketed nearly $450,000, a 17-count indictment returned by a Bergen County grand jury this week alleges.
Telling investors she worked for financier George Sorros in the 1980s, 58-year-old Dunya Predovan ran a Ponzi scheme from late 2005 until nearly the end of 2011, authorities allege.
Investigators checked with Sorros, the 82-year-old Hungarian-American business magnate, investor and philanthropist known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” because of his $1 billion in investment profits during the United Kingdom’s 1992 “Black Wednesday” currency crisis.
But Sorros, who has donated more than $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes, said he’d never heard of Predovan, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said last year.
Predovan, of Manahawkin (above, left), has been free on $50,000 bail since a week after her May 10, 2012 arrest.
She originally was arrested by Alpine police on theft and forgery charges after she allegedly victimized Klein and her husband, John (photo, above).
The case was turned over to detectives with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, who unraveled what they said become a much larger scheme involving alleged victims in Closter and Glen Rock, as well.
Besides pocketing money, the indictment alleges, Predovan cashed $36,000 in worthless checks and gained control over at least one victim’s credit card.
“To date, none of the victims have received any of their money,” Molinelli said following her May arrest last year.
STORY: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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