Trump University coach with criminal record steered her into Ponzi scheme, woman says
Action News Investigates has learned a Pittsburgh woman’s allegation that she lost more than $200,000 after attending a seminar licensed by Trump University.
Melissa Norris of Franklin Park said she is still trying to recover from the huge financial hit she took.
In a promotional video, Trump said, “At Trump University we teach success. That’s what it’s all about. Success — it’s going to happen to you.”
Norris believed Trump.
“I felt this was somebody I could trust and I thought any curriculum he wrote would be beneficial to me,” she said.
In 2007, she spent $17,248 for a Trump University seminar in Florida.
The seminar was run by Prosper Learning, a company licensed by Trump University.
Her tuition covered a coach assigned to help her find real estate deals. Cary Beagley, of Utah, was her coach.
She wanted to invest in Pittsburgh real estate, but she said Beagley tried to get her to buy properties in Spain.
“And that’s when I became very concerned,” Norris said.
Still, she trusted Beagley because of Trump, who at the time said of Trump University’s teachers:
“These are all people that are hand-picked by me.”
She said when Beagley told her to put her money into a company called Safevest, she did it. Eventually, she invested $230,000.
But just six months later, the SEC called Safevest a fraud and a Ponzi scheme and won a court order shutting it down.
Safevest ended up bankrupt, and Norris lost all her money.
“I lost a lot of money because I trusted this organization and I have nothing back. I will not get anything back,” she said.
Action News Investigates learned that when Beagley was coaching Norris he had a criminal record including convictions for theft, drug distribution and sex solicitation. In fact he was still on federal probation for the drug case while he was working for Trump University. Also, he had filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Norris knew none of that until Action News Investigates told her.