Consumer Alert: When it comes to investing your hard earned dollars, be careful who you trust. No matter what you are told, consumers must also remember all investments carry risk.
Tammy Mayle is a US Postal Inspector. Mayle says, "He was told his original investment was guaranteed. It was supposed to double his returns within 90 days."
So, the wealthy, retired businessman decided to invest $3 million. The pitch?
John Brewster, an attorney, says, "At the highest level of banking in Europe, there were-unbeknownst to most people-bank notes traded between institutions."
The scam artist, claiming to be an international financier, promised he'd be buying the notes at half their face value and selling them to other banks across the globe for almost twice as much.
Mayle says, ""It was guaranteed he would not lose his money."
A short time after investing his $3 million, the victim, in his 80's, got back one million.
Mayle says, "They gained the trust of the victim."
As for the other two million, the scam artists, over two years, kept coming up with excuses as to why it hadn't doubled. The truth was they just kept the money.
Mayle says, ""The money was never invested anywhere. It never left the fraudster's bank account. He was living off the money."
Including purchasing a $500 thousand luxury RV.
Brewster says, "He was devastated. He was incredulous that anyone would take advantage of him in this way."
Especially given the fact that the two million had been earmarked as a donation to the victim's church.
Mayle says, "The victim died before the case was finished. His wife wrote a letter to the judge saying he was never able to use the investment for his church and he died of a broken heart."
The two scam artists in this case both plead guilty.
One was sentenced for 46 months in prison and the other was sentenced for 30 months.
Some advice for avoiding scams like this: Don't fall for the promise of quick, unrealistic returns or claims that no money will be lost.
Beware of investments requiring you to wire the money.
Wire transfers make it easy for conartists to move money around to many different banks.