CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) – A self-described “master” financial strategist and promoter of a trademarked “wealth-building” strategy charged a married couple $21,600 to attend her get-rich-quick seminars, then bilked them of $1.9 million while taking commissions from the shaky investments she peddled, the couple claims. They sued Loral Langemeier in Federal Court.
Elisabeth and Steven Lenes said they became involved with Langemeier while seeking secure investments in a small apartment building in Charleston or in government-backed securities. They say Langemeier steered them instead to risky start-up ventures that had little or no prospect for success.
They seek punitive damages.
Langemeier is the author of books that promote her “proven wealth-building program” and describe her as a “master coach, financial strategist and team-made millionaire,” the Lenes say.
According to her author’s page on Amazon.com, Langemeier was raised on a farm in Nebraska, but managed to build a multi-million dollar portfolio by age 34, with neither money nor connections.
Without providing specifics, Langemeier’s entry claims that she “built a number of businesses in a variety of industries, several of which have grossed millions.”
“Her most recent accomplishment,” the page states, “is growing her current business into a $19 million enterprise in only five years.”
Her titles, which have been published by McGraw-Hill and Harper Paperbacks, among others, include “The Millionaire Maker: Act, Think and Make Money the Way the Wealthy Do,” “The Millionaire Maker’s Guide to Creating a Cash Machine for Life,” “The Millionaire Maker’s Guide to Wealth Cycle Investing,” and “Put More Cash in Your Pocket.”
Among those providing effusive blurbs on her dust jackets is Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money.”
Critics have said that Langemeier’s advice is often oversimplified and misleading, such as when she advised readers that forming a corporation or LLC was a great way to take advantage of tax deductions – but failed to explain that they needed to have verifiable business expenses to qualify.
The Lenes say they bought several of Langemeier’s books through her Web site, then contacted her directly to discuss their investment plans.
They say Langemeier advised them to hold off on the investments they were considering, because she could find them better deals. That led to their paying an initial $18,000 to attend one of the seminars in Lake Tahoe, and another $3,600 to attend follow-up meetings.
The Lenes say Langemeier used her seminars to aggressively promote unproven investments, while failing to disclose that she is not a registered securities broker-dealer or investment adviser, and that she was compensated by the companies whose investments she promoted.
The Lenes seek damages for fraud, misrepresentation, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, unlawful sale of unregistered securities, fraudulent sale of securities, being an unregistered broker-dealer and unregistered investment adviser.
Their lead attorney is James Bradley with Richardson, Patrick & Westbrook in Mount Pleasant, S.C.