Couple faces new charges
By Karissa Minn
A Kannapolis couple is disputing new charges brought against them Sunday in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme.
According to arrest warrants, Sammy and Sheila Biggerstaff have been charged with 18 counts each of obtaining property by false pretense for incidents occurring between August of 2004 and July of 2005.
The 22 reported victims — some making joint reports — told authorities they had given amounts ranging from $500 to $4,000 to the Biggerstaffs to invest in a business that did not exist.
Last year, a judge ordered Sammy and Sheila Biggerstaff, of 8490 Wright Road in Kannapolis, to pay more than $56,000 in restitution and court costs to 11 identified victims in a 2005 scheme.
The couple told investors their investment in the PIPS program could earn interest at a rate of 2.5 percent per day to be compounded daily. The PIPS scheme went under several names including People in Profit Systems, Private Investment Profit System or Pureinvestor and PIPS Financial Services.
On Sunday, Sammy said that contrary to the wording on the warrants, the PIPS business did exist, and it went under when its founders were arrested in 2005 and later jailed.
The Biggerstaffs had even opened their own accounts with the program, Sheila Biggerstaff said, with the understanding that losing the money was possible with any investment.
“We got scammed just like everybody else did,” she said. “We had money we lost, too… We didn’t steal their money. We didn’t have their money.”
In mid-2010, Assistant District Attorney Tom King met with the identified victims, all of whom got their money back in a plea deal with the Biggerstaffs.
The district attorney’s office dismissed 11 charges of felony obtaining property by false pretense against Sammy Biggerstaff.
Sheila Biggerstaff was given unsupervised probation on four counts of misdemeanor larceny and was ordered to pay court cost and restitution. The couple said Sunday they took the deal because they didn’t think they could get a fair trial because of negative publicity.
They said they do not know who some of the people listed on the new warrants are, and they’re concerned that more will say they are victims just to get a payment.
“Everybody’s getting in line wanting free money,” Sammy Biggerstaff said.
The Biggerstaffs were arrested and charged again Sunday morning, and they were released after each paying a $5,000 bond. They are set to appear in court at 9 a.m. Wednesday.