QUINCY (CBS) – Quincy Police are looking for a man with a long history of investment schemes in several states who is now accused scamming people on the South Shore.
Investigators say Scott Wolas has several aliases and used Ponzi-schemes to defraud investors out of more than $100 million since the 1990’s, always vanishing before police could arrest him.
“I would say he fits the bill as a con man,” said Quincy Police Lt. Kevin Tobin. “It seems like he has had a lot of practice getting his craft to where it is.”
Now, police say he’s bolted town after bilking $1.7 million out of 16 people who thought they were investing in redeveloping the old Beachcomber nightclub on Wollaston Beach.
Officials say he set up shop at a Quincy real estate office under a fake name where he became a top broker and where he gained the confidence of his victims.
Engineer Ben Porter was one of the investors who were allegedly ripped off. “It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Porter said. “He’s very, very intelligent and he’s very charismatic. That’s what he uses to prey on people.”
Wolas did not show up at the closing for the nightclub last week and vanished with the money.
“He had the plans, he had approval and he had investors,” Lt. Tobin said. “This from all angles looked like a legitimate deal.”
Porter second mortgaged his house to put up $50,000 and encouraged three friends to invest several times that amount.
“As it unfolded, you take the worst case scenario and triple it,” said Porter, who is depressed, embarrassed and ashamed. He is speaking up with the hope Wolas will be caught before he can hurt others.
Police however, are aware he’s a pro at flying under the radar. “He’s been gone from Quincy for five days, but he’s managed to elude other states for 20 years,” Lt. Tobin said.
Wolas was last seen when his girlfriend dropped him off at the JFK/UMass T stop. She told police she was not concerned about his aliases or money because she thought he was working for the CIA.
Police say Wolas once tried to shut down New York investigators by faking his own death, certificate and all.