Just over a year ago, Ezri Namvar was forced into involuntary bankruptcy and accused by investors of creating a Ponzi scheme that lost as much as $500 million that had been loaned to him — most of it by Los Angeles’ Iranian Jews. Many of his former investors once knew Namvar as a friend and trusted adviser, but they now say their lives have been turned upside down by their losses. Adding to their pain is the fact that, although the accusations surrounding Namvar have earned him the community’s ire, he is not the only object of their anger. Two other investment fraud scandals involving two other local Iranian Americans have since piled onto the local community’s difficulties.
None of the three men has been charged with criminal wrongdoing at this time, but their effect on the community remains profound. Once a tightknit group that could finish a deal with a handshake, the Iranian Jewish community is now experiencing a shattered sense of trust and is rethinking its old-school ways of doing business.
Namvar, who is in his 50s and lives in Brentwood, worked as a banker, moneylender and real estate investor in the Iranian Jewish community for nearly two decades, and evidence of his generosity can be found on synagogue plaques thanking him and his family. Namvar earned the trust of many Iranian Jews, which led them to invest in his company, Namco Capital Group Inc. (Namco). His status also was founded on his family’s longstanding business reputation in I… >>>