Area residents have a chance Thursday to see a Montana-made film about investment fraud and how to avoid being scammed.
Monica Lindeen, the state commissioner of investments and insurance, will hold a free free lunch and screening of “Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State, ” at 11:30 a. m. in the Community and Senior Center in Chester, and a free prime rib dinner and screening in Havre at 6 p. m. in the Elks Lodge. The stops are part of a statewide tour showing the movie, paid with a grant from the Investor Protection Trust.
“More than a hundred years ago, prospectors flocked to what we now call the Treasure State in search of fortunes, ” Lindeen said in a press release. “You don't see many prospectors around Montana these days, but the drive to get rich quick lives on in scammers and con-artists. Montana's modern day gold diggers can steal a life's savings in the blink of an eye. ”
Narrated by award-winning actor Bill Pullman, “Gold Diggers” tracks two recent cases of investment fraud in Montana — Arthur Heffelfinger's Ponzi scheme in Helena and Anne Marie Schlenker's investment scam in Bozeman.
Combined, the two scams robbed dozens of Montana investors of more than $3 million, leaving victims in financial ruin. The film features interviews with victims, securities experts, and regulators and attorneys who investigated and prosecuted the two scams.
“Education is the silver bullet when it comes to fighting fraud, ” Lindeen said in the release. “The more you know about your rights and where you can turn for help, the less likely you are to be taken by a modern day gold digger. ”
The Chester and Havre stops are the fifth and sixth in the tour, which is scheduled to start today in Polson. The tour wraps up June 14 in Circle and Glendive.
After watching the movie, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about avoiding investment fraud.
Lindeen's office produced “Gold Diggers” with a grant from the Investor Protection Trust, a nationally-recognized, educational non-profit that helps consumers make informed investment decisions. Funding for the trust comes from voluntary and court-ordered contributions from criminals who commit investment fraud.
To learn more about “Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State, ” people can visit the commissioner's website at http://csi.mt.gov/GoldDiggers. To report suspicious activity or fraud, people can call the commissioner's office at (800) 332-6148.
• Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen will be hosting a free meal and a screening of the “Gold Diggers” documentary at two locations:
• Thursday, May 3, 11:30 a.m., Community and Senior Center, 618 East Adams St., Chester;
• Thursday, May 3, 6 p.m., Elks Lodge, 321 2nd St., Havre.