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Consumer Alert: Do your research before investing in any companies


It sounded like a great idea, invest in a company that provides cell service where no one has it, but as we found out this was a scam that stole millions from vulnerable investors.

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It sounded like a great idea, invest in a company that provides cell service where no one has it, but as we found out this was a scam that stole millions from vulnerable investors.

Fraud victim Charles Betts says, "I ain't got nothing left."

That is the exact reason 80-year-old Charles Betts is back at work. He is transporting cattle again after he lost more than $100,000 of his savings in an investment scam.

Betts says, "I expected not to be working at all, but with all the things that happened."

What happened is Betts invested money in a wireless communications network called EPCOM.

According to US Postal Inspector Robert Strande the goal of this scam is, "to cover the gaps in cellular service that the big companies were not providing."

Betts, along with 500 others, put $7 million into the project. The problem? No cell towers were ever built and the investors lost everything.

Strande says, "Financial ruin, devastation, these were farmers, retired individuals who did not have the ability to just go back to work and recoup their losses."

Postal Inspectors began tracking the case and arrested Eldon Anderson as the mastermind.

Strande says, "He would say if you don't get in now, you are going to lose an opportunity to invest and make a lot of money."

Victims fell for the false sense of urgency created. Some advice from Postal Inspectors when considering investments, take your time and ask a lot of questions.

Strande says, "Constantly ask questions, ask for information. If they are being evasive or if they are not giving any answers at all, be suspect of that. Walk away."

And Betts says, "I think you should do more investigating than I did."

Eldon Anderson is now in federal prison serving an eight year sentence for selling unregistered securities in a phantom, rural wireless communications network.


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