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A Central Indiana man is behind bars after state authorities claim he stole more than half a million dollars by running a Ponzi scheme.

Former Carmel financial advisor Thomas Redmond, Jr., is charged with eight counts of Securities Fraud, a Class B Felony, and two counts of Securities Fraud, a Class C Felony. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Indiana Secretary of State’s Securities Division.

Redmond is accused of defrauding 10 victims out of more than $580,000.

According to court documents, one of his victims was Fran Scowden of Indianapolis. She told Fox59 she met Redmond through a friend who went to church with him. She said he quickly took control of her finances and told her he was going to invest them into two different companies.

“I wrote two checks for $30,000 each. He took my $50,000 IRA. He took all my General Motors stock,” said Scowden. “He came to me as a Christian man and I trusted him explicitly.”

Instead, that money and much more was going straight to Redmond’s pockets, said Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

“He was promising them that he would invest their money in securities, but instead of that the was depositing their money in his own checking account,” explained Lawson.

Lawson added her investigators found out Redmond had been running the scheme since 2004 and targeted the elderly at his own church, missionaries who’d spent their lives counseling victims of Auschwitz and widows like Scowden.

“He knew I had no children and no family that knew anything about my finances,” said Scowden. “He signed me up for this company 10 years and I would’ve been 92. I’ll probably never live to 92 and he would’ve taken everything I had left.”

Scowden will never get her money back; money she’d been earning since she was 16 years old. The only way she believes Redmond can pay for his crimes is by spending life in jail.

“He’s made my life a holy hell,” said Scowden. “He’s killed my finances and I want him to pay for it.”

Lawson said Hoosiers can protect themselves by checking on their financial advisor’s license and history to see if they have ever had any disciplinary issues. She recommends you also stay away from unrealistic returns and never allow anyone to force you to make a quick decision. A scammer doesn’t want to give you time to do your research before making a decision.