Police: Joseph clients should call attorney

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
George Joseph

Authorities are advising anyone who had financial dealings with George Joseph to contact a civil attorney, a Cape Girardeau Police Department spokesman said Tuesday.

Joseph, 48, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action in connection with May 30 shootings at his home on West Cape Rock Drive that left his wife, Mary, and 18-year-old son, Matthew, dead.

While hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the head, Joseph admitted to a detective he killed his wife and son and tried to kill himself after becoming despondent over financial issues, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court.

The nature and scope of those financial issues are not clear. But Darin Hickey, public information officer for Cape Girardeau Police, said some of Joseph's business associates have approached the department with concerns.

"We're encouraging those people that have financial dealings with him, they also need to be in contact with their civil attorney," Hickey said Tuesday.

He declined to say how many people had contacted police or how much money may have been involved.

Hickey said detectives are looking into Joseph's financial background, but at this point, their primary focus is the homicide investigation.

"We are just talking to these people that do have questions or concerns, because our investigators are thoroughly briefed, and they are familiar with that side of the investigation, but at this point, our focus is on a double murder," he said. "If an investigation, no matter what the investigation is, be it a robbery, homicide, burglary, anything, if that investigation leads us to another crime, we'll investigate that crime."

Members of the Cape Girardeau Police Department work the scene of a morning shooting at 1220 W. Cape Rock Drive,Thursday, May 30, 2013. Two people, 18-year-old Matthew Joseph and 57-year-old Mary Joseph died from gunshot wounds. (Laura Simon)

Joseph's name has come up in connection with a Scott County fraud case, but Branden Caid, a detective with the Scott County Sheriff's Department, has said there is no credible evidence he was a willing participant in any financial exploitation.

According to a probable-cause affidavit filed in the Scott County case, Keith Monia instructed an 81-year-old Scott City woman to make out a check for $100,000 to George Joseph, leading her to believe she was paying for an annuities plan with a life insurance company.

The affidavit states Monia told the woman that Joseph -- whose name appeared as the endorsement on the back of the check, which was credited to an account with Scottrade Inc. -- was an investment planner from New York.

Monia is set for arraignment later this month on charges of forgery and financial exploitation of the elderly in connection with the case, court records show.

It was not clear why Joseph's name was on the check or whether he actually endorsed it.

Hickey would not speculate on any possible connection between Joseph's financial issues and Monia's activities.

"If the investigation of Mr. Joseph leads in that direction, then they will take the investigation in that direction," he said Monday.

A woman who identified herself as one of Joseph's investors told the Southeast Missourian she had received a letter from Joseph in April, explaining a man had given him money to invest, but the money -- unbeknownst to Joseph -- turned out to be stolen.

The woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said she began investing with Joseph in 2011 and was happy with her returns, which started at 10 percent per quarter but dropped to 5 percent, a decline she said Joseph attributed to a downturn in the economy.

The woman, formerly of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and another investor, Joselito Iringan, said Joseph told investors he was withholding taxes on the interest payments they received.

"He was supposed to be taking off the taxes when he gave us the money," Iringan said.

Iringan said he began investing with Joseph sometime between 2010 and 2011 after moving from Southeast Missouri to California. He said he took between $11,000 and $12,000 out of his 401(k) plan at a previous job and invested it with Joseph.

Iringan said he received two or three checks for dividends. The rest of the time, Joseph reinvested the profits for him instead of cutting him a check, he said.

The woman said Joseph was investing the money through Scottrade.

"I know Scottrade is where he puts the money, because one time our check that comes in is Scottrade," she said. "It's Scottrade something, and then he has his name, and one time one of his checking accounts was hacked, and so he had to cancel all of that, and he had to send me a new check back from another bank."

While the online trading company has a custodial arm that provides financial advisers to clients, Joseph has never been part of it, a Scottrade spokesman said Tuesday.

"He's never worked for us in any way, shape, form or whatever," said Whitney Ellis, senior public relations specialist for Scottrade.

Neither Iringan nor the other investor accused Joseph of any wrongdoing, but both investors expressed concern about retrieving their money now that he has been arrested in connection with the homicide case.

"We definitely want to get the money back, of course," Iringan said. "That's our hard-earned dollars."

Joseph has not yet hired an attorney, court records show.

Hickey said anyone with questions or concerns about business dealings with Joseph should call the Cape Girardeau Police Department at 335-6621.



Pertinent address:

1220 W. Cape Rock Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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