If You See Him in Your AA Meeting, Hide Your Checkbook

By Kenneth Garger 07/27/11

AA fraudster used meetings to rip off elderly alcoholics.

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A Colorado crook accused of preying on 22 fellow AA members, many of them elderly, in a devious Ponzi scheme admitted one count of theft after a plea deal. Alcoholic investors in a state noted for its binges entrusted their cash to 72-year-old Richard Mayfield of Larimer County. One alleged victim, William Nies, said he attended the same daily meetings as Mayfield, who then approached him with a "no-risk" investment opportunity. "He invaded the AA fellowship and used the fellowship for his own purpose," said Nies, who now calls Mayfield a "pathological liar." The swindling senior citizen had previously run two companies marketing products to help struggling salespeople: One $99 "solution" was simply a double-sided sheet describing Jesus as the answer. In all, Mayfield hustled together $466,496 from his "investors," including one alleged victim who was over a hundred years old. He will be sentenced at Larimer County Justice center on September 15 and faces up to six years in the slammer, along with a fine of up to half a million dollars.

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Ken Garger is a reporter for the New York Post. You can follow him on Twitter.