Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

August 2, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

Unlicenced Investment Advisor Defrauded Over 400 People

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the rejection of an attempt by E. Robins Rich, convicted of stealing nearly $1.5 million from over 400 investors, to reduce his three year sentence. Rich, 81, moved to reduce his sentence on the grounds of failing health, but Judge Joseph McCurdy, who sentenced Rich last year to 10 years with all but three years to be served on home detention, stated that the sentence of three years home confinement was and continues to be "not unduly burdensome, . . .even if the defendant were on life support".

In deference to the defendant’s advanced age and failing health at the time of his guilty plea last September, the parties agreed that Rich’s three year sentence should be served in home detention rather than the penitentiary. At the hearing, a representative of the Attorney General opposed Rich’s motion to reduce his sentence. Present also were a number of the people swindled by Rich out of hundreds of thousands of dollars of their savings. Many of the victims in this case were as old or older than the defendant, and have had to return to work in order to meet their daily living expenses as they entrusted their retirement money to Rich and lost it all.

In September 1999, the Maryland Securities Division shut down Rich’s investment company, Starboard Associates, 516 N. Charles Street, and a judge placed Starboard into receivership. At the time of Rich’s guilty plea, Judge McCurdy also ordered Rich to not give investment advice to others or handle the money or investments of others.

The charges to which Rich pleaded guilty were that from 1992 until 1999 (when the State put him out of business), he operated a fraudulent investment scam in which he offered investors a pooled investment in monthly "programs". Eighty percent of investors’ funds was supposed to be invested in a money market account and 20 percent was to be invested in stock options. Each "program" was to mature in three to 12 months, depending on the program. At maturity, Rich would offer to roll over an investor’s supposed profits into a new "program". The investigation disclosed, however, that only a fraction of the nearly $14 million entrusted to him for investment was actually invested as promised. Moreover, what investments Rich did make lost money in the market. Over $1.4 million of investor funds were diverted by Rich to a failing T-shirt company owned by his son. The company eventually went under and the money was lost.

The Receiver appointed by the Court is continuing to marshal the remaining assets, for eventual distribution to the victims whose claims are validated.