Anthony "Ari" Rinkus is a convicted two-time felon who engineered a car theft ring and then, while still on probation, a Ponzi scheme con job. He also happens to be married to Heather Rinkus, the guest reception manager at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida — a fact he is quick to bring up and evidently has no qualms exploiting, BuzzFeed News reports in a startling investigation.
"Ari, a stocky former used car salesman, frequently holds court over a vodka soda at a local bar, bragging about his and his wife's connection to Trump and his team while trolling for investors for business deals he's peddling," BuzzFeed News writes. Heather Rinkus, who used to work for the family of Betsy DeVos, Trump's education secretary, landed the Mar-a-Lago job just before Trump became president. "[Ari Rinkus] kept saying, 'Once my wife gets that job, I'll have all the connections for you,'" a person who worked closely with Rinkus said.
Under the terms of his probation, Rinkus isn't technically allowed to have a job "that would require him to exercise fiduciary duties; to give investment advice or make investment decisions; to solicit funds; or to handle other people's money, without the advanced, written approval of the probation officer." Yet local real estate agent Richard Allison said Rinkus is "very good at going out there and socializing and finding people who would be good investors," and that he'd been pitched himself.
"He immediately brings up his wife's job — that's how he ropes investors in," said another person whom Rinkus tried to pitch. As FBI Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez explained: "Investment fraudsters use the appearance of success to mask their tangled financial web of lies."
When told BuzzFeed News was going to write a piece about his dealings, Rinkus walked back almost all of his stories and claims. "I lied," he said.
By all appearances, though, Rinkus has been working for a security company called Securablinds, which is actively seeking government contracts. Rinkus had earlier bragged to BuzzFeed News that he had even pitched Eric Trump on the company. After all, Securablinds, which is based in the U.K, just opened a firm in Palm Beach.
Or, as Rinkus describes it, in "the president's backyard." Read the full investigation at BuzzFeed News.