Busted: The Amish Bernie Madoff

Beachy spent a quarter-century raising $33 million from more than 2,600 investors, the overwhelming majority of them fellow members of the Amish community, which often shuns modern conveniences such as automobiles.

But Beachy’s investment approach allegedly had more in common with the timeless methods of Charles Ponzi and Bernard Madoff than with the sheltered village of Sugarcreek, Ohio, where he lived. When the SEC charged him with fraud on Tuesday, it said he had lost nearly half of his investors’ money.

In a telephone call Wednesday, Beachy declined to comment in any detail, saying, “My attorney advised me not to discuss it with anyone.” When pressed, he added, “Of course it was not intentional.”