Police: Woman loses $100,000 in Ponzi scheme

Police: Woman loses $100,000 in Ponzi scheme

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Washington County sheriff's deputies say a woman was bilked out of $100,000 in a Ponzi scheme.

"What he took from me was a lot for me, for my lifetime," said Jeanne Lybecker.

Deputies say 27-year-old Kyle Higgins of Tualatin and 49-year-old Cliff Puterbaugh of Beaverton are behind the scheme. They both are facing several charges. Puterbaugh is being held on $2 million bail. Deputies say Higgins had a lesser role in the operation and was released on $60,000 bail.

Investigators are searching for others who may have trusted those two men with their money and lost everything.

For Lybecker, multiple sclerosis has made the simple act of walking painful for her, and now the 64-year-old is feeling the pain of losing her $100,000 investment.

"That was the money that was going to help me get through my retirement, get me the medications that I need," she said. "Obviously, MS is a progressive disease and so right now where I'm at is fine, but I'm going to get worse along the way and that money was a little bit of me being able to know that I had the ability to take care of myself. Now with that money gone, I'm struggling to figure out how I'm going to be able to take care of myself."

Lybecker said she met Higgins at a real estate investment conference. He later introduced her to Puterbaugh who she said promised to double her money, knowing she needed it to pay for future health care bills.

"They called me this morning and told me they'd been to his home and arrested him, and I just went, 'Yes'!" Lybecker said. "I've been embarrassed, I've been humiliated. I didn't want any of my friends to know what had happened, or what I had gone through. And I was sort of staying behind, but I would like to say if anybody else out there has had contact with him and that they've had the same kind of experience I've had and lost money, they need to come forward. We need to make sure that he gets stopped. And that he can never do this again."

The sheriff's office says it has identified three Ponzi scheme victims, including Lybecker. They lost $190,000 over four years. But Lybecker says investigators told her there may be as many as 25 victims.