A Laguna Beach man was sentenced Friday to 6½ years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $7.36 million in restitution in three investment fraud schemes, authorities said.
Peter Heinrich Conrad Reinert, 63, pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud and as part of the plea agreement admitted to details of the three separate schemes, which involved fictitious automotive and anti-counterfeiting technologies, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
One scam was run through an Irvine-based company, Fazer Technologies, which Reinert claimed was developing technology that would increase gas mileage to 150 per gallon for any car. Another of Reinert’s companies, Income from Waste Corp., was supposedly developing the ability to convert used tires to oil, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
“He makes up stories about who he is to get what he wants,” U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton said in court Friday, according to a news release.
Reinert also falsely claimed that major car companies were interested in his products and that Tesla had stolen his technology and used it in its cars.
Reinert ran the schemes from 2010 through April 2015, inducing victims across the country to send him millions of dollars, prosecutors said.
Reinert also claimed to be a Secret Service agent and an intelligence officer in the Marines and that another of his companies, Global Encryption Imaging Corp., was developing anti-counterfeiting technology for state-issued identification documents.
Prosecutors said he also lied about being a U.S. citizen and assumed a stolen identity and a U.S. passport in the name of Peter Michael Berger and claimed he was born in Maine. Reinert actually was born in Germany.
Instead of spending the money he collected from the schemes to develop his technologies, as promised, authorities said Reinert used it for personal expenses, luxury cars, sales commissions, purchases at Apple’s iTunes store and wire transfers to an account in Poland.
As part of the plea agreement, Reinert forfeited $300,000 the FBI seized in 2015, as well as various luxury items, including two Mercedes-Benzes, that were part of the full restitution.