A con artist that scammed his former hedge fund partners into a career-shattering business investment has been caught living off another family’s wealth — quite literally. 47-year-old James Crombie, a convicted con artist, had decided to move his wife, three kids, and dog into another family’s vacant million dollar home. Luckily, they were caught and stopped before they were able to unpack.
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County, Maryland District Court, the Crombie family was in the middle of unpacking a moving truck when the home’s owner pulled up to the home. He confronted the family and immediately called police.
“The lock had been drilled out,” Charles Hill, a next door neighbor, told local news affiliate WJLA. “They even introduced themselves [to neighbors] and scheduled some sort of entertainment with neighbors…It’s just very bizarre.”
Crombie, a convicted con artist, told officers the home had been purchased for him by a Columbia, Md. consulting firm called The Moore Group, biut he had no documents to back up his claim.
Crombie has been convicted of criminal fraud, but it’s unclear the current status of the criminal charges. In November 2013, a federal court in California ordered Crombie pay $1.5 million for misrepresentations to the National Futures Association and for solicitation fraud.
In 2012, Peter McConnon and Timothy Lyons of hedge fund Paron Capital Management were awarded court damages of $35 million by the Delaware Court of Chancery. The court ruled that James Crombie, their former partner, lied about his track record. McConnon and Lyons founded Paron with Crombie after believing the claim that Crombie had developed “highly successful futures trading software”. The Court found “that Crombie committed fraud and breached his fiduciary duties to the plaintiffs and the Company by making false statements of fact about his program, his investment track record, and his personal financial situation.”
It wasn’t a simple con job, either, according to FIN Alternatives, a hedge fund news blog. They believed they had verified his bonafides:
The Court also found that McConnon and Lyons had done “extensive” due diligence on Crombie, including reviewing a verifier’s report prepared by an independent hedge fund accounting firm. The partners also commissioned Rothstein Kass to independently verify Crombie’s historical trading performance.
Neither Rothstein Kass nor the independent accounting firm—who were not parties in the case against Crombie—were accused of or found liable for any wrongdoing.
By the time Crombie’s forgery was discovered, “Rothstein’s verification” had been used in marketing materials Paron had sent to over 100 client contacts.
Crombie, thus far, has managed to elude jail or prison sentences for his various cons. However, this time, his luck may have run out: He’s charged with now charged with felony burglary, destruction of property and attempted theft.