FRM victims get some closure after reimbursement checks restore a little of what they lost

By RAY DUCKLER

Monitor columnist

Published: 02-20-2023 2:22 PM

Sheri Dow of Gilford had every reason to believe that the investment she made 14 years ago was a sound choice

She trusted the central players involved. Two of her brothers were experienced in the investment game, always searching and searching and searching for a tidbit of information that might set off a red flag.

She had faith in the investment firm Financial Resources Mortgage that her brothers had mentioned as a potentially fertile place for the $100,000 Dow planned to invest. But after the real estate market tanked in 2009, Dow and more than 150 other investors found out they had been scammed out of their lifesavings, all victims of the largest Ponzi scheme in Granite State history.

After all these years, she was sent a check from the state for $10,755 in compensation for her loss. 

“It affected my entire life,” Dow said by phone. “It affected my kids’ life. That money was each penny that I had in the world from a divorce settlement. When I lost that money, I was broke.”

Tens of millions of dollars disappeared in the scheme. A list of 151 victims who applied to receive money from a $10 million restitution fund shows that most, like Dow, will get back only a fraction of what they lost. 

The checks were sent out by the Attorney General’s office at the end of last month, closing a painful chapter for investors bilked by Scott Farah of Meredith and Donald Dodge of Belmont, the lead partners at Financial Resources Mortgage. Farah, known as the scheme’s mastermind, pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud in 2011 and admitted pooling investor funds to pay off other loans and personal expenses. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Dow’s friends and relatives took a hit as well, including a monster $2 million loss suffered by State. Rep Harry Bean of Gilford, Dow’s brother.

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Dow’s younger brother, Ronny, died from Leukemia 13 years ago. Before he passed, however, Sheri described him as an investor who pushed hard, as hard as he could, in his fight to receive some sort of reimbursement. 

“Very smart when it came to money,” Dow said.

Farah was so convincing that some investors believed he and Dodge had honest intentions at the start, before it all unraveled and spiraled out of control, Yet, Dow said she smelled something rotten in Meredith.

Her late brother, Ronny, was sick with leukemia when he met with Farah to discuss Dow’s future. He would die within a few years, and Dow was convinced that Farah knew her brother was sick, yet made the decision to sell to him nevertheless.

“He knew my brother was dying and he still took his money,” Dow said. “He was just a crook.”

It’s been a trying time, and the checks finally add a little closure.

“I have to be happy,” Dow said. “I’m happy that something happened because it’s a process that shows the state did something wrong.”

In the end, Dow received about 10 cents for every dollar she lost.

“In my eyes,” Dow said, “I suppose that’s better than nothing.”  

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