Iowa woman admits conning friends and family out of money

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A Pella, Iowa woman pleaded guilty in federal court to mail fraud in connection with her scheme to borrow money from friends and relatives.

In August, 2012, Beverly DeRonde, 61, was indicted on 12 counts of mail fraud.  The indictment alleged DeRonde scammed more than $730,000 by borrowing money from various people.

DeRonde admitted to spending seven years borrowing money from various friends, relatives and acquaintances.  She would send hand-written notes telling her victims to keep the loans secret, saying she needed money to buy surprise gifts for her husband or to buy equipment for the couple’s boat repair shop while the items she wanted were “on sale.”

All-in-all, DeRonde borrowed $731,950 between January 2003 and June 2010.   One of her victims said they loaned her more than $268,000. 

Instead of the promised gifts or business expenses, DeRonde spent the money on antiques, jewelry and other items.  She also used some of the money to repay loans she got previously from other people.

DeRonde confessed to sending letters offering excuses for her failure to repay loans and promises of new repayment dates through the mail.  She continued to instruct her victims to keep the loans secret from her husband.

DeRonde eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2010.   That’s when she also reportedly sent letters to her lenders saying she was spending beyond her means. 

A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Deronde was free as she awaited sentencing, scheduled for April 5, 2013.  In addition to repaying her victims, she faces up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.