A Baltimore man who claimed to be a financial investor pleaded guilty Feb. 8 to defrauding 22 people over the age of 55 of retirement savings totaling $890,000, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland announced.

Casey Charles, 33, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme stretching back to 2007.

“When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” said Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Division. “Investors should always be wary of unrealistic claims. Postal Inspectors will continue to pursue those criminals who use the mail to further their fraudulent investment schemes.”

According to his plea agreement, Charles operated a company called Infinite Strategies LLC and falsely held himself out to be a financial specialist able to put clients’ retirement funds into products providing “high returns without high risk.” Charles used direct mailing, newspaper ads and TV commercials to target clients who were retired, between the ages of 55 and 80, were married, owned their home, and had annual incomes over $25,000.

Charles used two methods to swindle investors. In one strategy, he convinced clients to liquidate their current investments and turn the funds over to him to be placed into better investment accounts. Instead, Charles put some funds into risky and unauthorized investments while using others for his own personal and business expenses, while generating fake letters and statements to convince his clients their money had been put into safe accounts.

Under the other strategy, Charles had his clients open accounts with reputable IRA companies and transfer their investment funds into those accounts. Once the funds were transferred, Charles submitted forged documents to the IRA company directing it to transfer the funds into a bank account he controlled. Charles used most of these funds to meet his expenses.

Charles further concealed his scheme by using new client funds to make “lulling payments” to existing clients seeking to liquidate or receive payments from the investments they thought Charles had set up for them.

Charles faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 21.