Accusations of financial fraud swirl after death of local attorney
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —
At least 30 individuals have come forward to accuse Shawn Weera, 55, a West Michigan attorney, of financial fraud, according to emails obtained by the Newschannel 3 I-Team.
Weera died of a heart attack on June 15, but just a few weeks after his funeral, those who trusted him with millions of dollars say they were informed the money Weera was supposed to invest and grow, simply wasn't there.
"I want to warn other elderly people to be careful where you put your money," said one man, who spoke to Newschannel 3 on the condition of anonymity.
That same man says his 92-year-old mother trusted Weera, her lawyer, to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars after Weera allegedly pitched her and others an investment plan based on one of his property developments.
Prior to his death, Weera spent years promoting himself as a "highly successful business coach and consultant," as well as a "financial planning and insurance expert."
However, emails sent to the family of one victim from the firm hired to investigate the alleged fraud show that Weera made some "highly questionable and concerning transactions" with potentially millions of dollars given to him from elderly clients who thought Weera was investing the money.
Weera had worked for the Elder Law Firm in Grand Rapids while also promoting his investment strategies.
Emails from the separate firm investigating what happened to the money collected by Weera indicate that Weera's family and colleagues played no role in the alleged financial ruse.
"We have no evidence to suggest anyone other than Mr. Weera was involved," wrote an attorney to one of Weera's victims.
In that same email, the attorney urges the victim and others to file a "Statement of Proof of Claim as soon as possible."
One of Weera's victims said he was told that Weera kept and spent a lot of money overseas, but thus far, efforts to locate that money have hit a wall.
The I-Team discovered this is not the first time Weera has been accused of wrongdoing. In 2016, he was reprimanded by the State Attorney Discipline Board for his lack of transparency and potential conflict of interests between his work as an attorney and his work as a financial adviser.
The Newschannel 3 I-Team is still investigating the accusations faced by Weera.
If you have any information related to this story please email iTeam@wwmt.com