DEERFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A suburban money manager died mysteriously, leaving behind a trail of questions – since he was recently charged with fraud.
His clients fear they’ll never get their cash back, or get answers.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Thursday night, Deerfield police found Robert Walberg unresponsive at a hotel earlier this month, where he later died.
Now his clients are asking, what now?
“I want to find out where the money went, and is there a dime left?” said Robert Gray.
Gray trusted his longtime Arlington Heights neighbor, Bob Walberg to invest on his behalf. Gray invested $100,000.
Walberg founded hedge fund Chartwell Strategies. He was even frequent guest on financial shows, dishing out money advice and building credibility as an investor.
At first, Gray was seeing big returns, with $100,000 quickly turning into $116,361.93.
But state investigators say it was all a lie. They accuse Walberg of running an elaborate Ponzi scheme, stealing more than $2 million with seemingly no one off limits.
Walberg was accused of stealing $45,000 from his own family.
“I cried. I couldn’t go to work the next day,” Walberg relative Maria Battaglia told CBS 2’s De Mar back in December. “I spent the whole day in bed crying.”
Walberg was also accused of stealing more than $600,000 from Northwest Suburban Montessori School in Arlington Heights – where his kids went to school and which trusted Walberg to invest.
“Seeing that this person embezzled from our kids is crushing,” said Jordan Sadoff, a parent at the school.
And he is accused of embezzling that $100,000 from Gray.
“The nagging question for me is where did all that money go?” Gray said.
Earlier this month, Walberg died unexpectedly at this Deerfield Hyatt Hotel. He was 58.
The Lake County Coroner has yet to rule how Walberg died.
“I feel really bad for his family. Nobody wants to lose their father. No one wants to lose a spouse,” Gray said. “But at the end of the day, where did that money go?”
Neighbors, relatives, friends – more than 20 alleged victims in all – are now asking, what they can do to get back what was stolen?
“If he left this information with a confidant about where this money is, how can we access it?” Gray said. “Even if it’s 10 cents on the dollar left, all the people he defrauded deserve some of that money back.”
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office said Walberg did not leave any assets behind that could possibly be distributed as restitution. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said a possible avenue people can take to recoup some money is to hire an attorney and possibly look at Walberg’s estate.