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Montco Businessman Charged In ‘Wholesale’ Ripoff Of Investors

(Ira Pressman.  Photo provided by Montgomery County DA's office)

(Ira Pressman. Photo provided by Montgomery County DA’s office)

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BRYN MAWR, Pa. (CBS) – A Bala Cynwyd, Pa. businessman is behind bars in Montgomery County, accused of  stealing more than $3 million from investors in what prosecutors are calling a classic Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors say Ira Pressman owned PJI Distribution, a Bryn Mawr company that buys closeout, overstock, and liquidation merchandise to resell to other buyers.

Investigators say the 64-year-old man convinced numerous people to invest but in many cases never paid off on the promised return.

Montgomery County district attorney Risa Ferman says some of the deals were legitimate but others never existed.

“He would call someone and offer them the opportunity to be a partner in a deal.  He would make up the name of the company, he would prepare fake invoices to make it look like something existed that didn’t, and they were completely manufactured — made up,” says Ferman.

She says some of the money was used for personal expenses and some was used to pay back some of the original investors.

Published reports have revealed that Pressman was convicted of theft charges in a bank loan deceit case in Philadelphia in the early 1990s. He was a disbarred lawyer at the time.

Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060.