A Beaverton man is accused of scamming people out of tens of thousands of dollars, and Washington County investigators said they believe there may be many more victims who have yet to come forward.
Clifford Puterbaugh appeared in court Friday afternoon on 28 charges ranging from aggravated theft to securities fraud. As of now, investigators said the charges involved three known victims of the Ponzi scheme, totaling more than $190,000.
However, detectives with the Washington County Fraud and ID Theft Enforcement team said there are likely many more victims in this case, which could involve at least $500,000, according to a spokesman.
"Ultimate betrayal of trust," Jeanne Lybecker said.
She told Fox 12 she thought Puterbaugh was her friend. She said she gave him $100,000 to invest in overseas investment opportunities.
"He knew that was my retirement money," she said. "He knew that was my money that I needed for my medication for my (Multiple sclerosis). He knew that $100,000 was crucial in my account, and that I couldn't do without it."
Lybecker said she met Puterbaugh through Kyle Higgins, who is also facing four charges in the case. Investigators said he had a lesser role in the scheme, which promised money back through vague overseas investment opportunities.
"From what I understand from other victims I've met, (Puterbaugh's) MO is the same with all of us. He's just very smooth. He's got this down pat."
Lybecker said she signed paperwork in July of 2009, which even gave specific dates of when she would get her money back, as much as double of what she gave him. Those dates came and went.
"He kept saying, ‘don't worry about it, I'm going to double it. I'm going to bring you back $200,000.'"
Last year, Lybecker went to an attorney, and shortly after, Washington County Sheriff's detectives began investigating.
Puterbaugh was arrested on Thursday, Aug. 2. His attorney entered a not guilty plea in court on Friday. He's due back in court Aug. 20.
"I just want him stopped," Lybecker said. "I want him to go to prison and stay in prison. He needs to realize what he's done. I don't think in his own mind he realizes what he's caused in our own lives."
Investigators urge any other victims to contact the Washington County Fraud and ID Theft Enforcement Team office at (503) 615-3444.
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