LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) — This lesson cannot be emphasized enough: When it comes to investing your hard-earned dollars, be careful who you trust.
In this Rip-Off Alert: no matter what you are told, consumers must also remember all investments carry risk.
This is the story of a wealthy, retired businessman who decided to invest $3 million.
“He was told his original investment was guaranteed,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Tammy Mayle. “It was supposed to double his returns within 90 days.”
The scam artist — claiming to be an international financier — promised he'd be buying bank notes traded between institutions at half their face value and selling them to other banks across the globe for almost twice as much.
A short time after investing his $3 million, the victim — in his 80s — got back $1 million.
“It was guaranteed he would not lose his money,” Mayle said. “They gained the trust of the victim.”
As for the other $2 million, the scam artists — over two years — kept coming up with excuses as to why it hadn't doubled.
In reality: “The money was never invested anywhere,” Mayle said. “It never left the fraudster’s bank account. He was living off the money.”
Purchases included a $500,000 luxury RV.
“He was devastated,” said the victim’s attorney, John Brewster. “He was incredulous that anyone would take advantage of him in this way.”
The victim had earmarked the $2 million as a donation to his church.
“The victim died before the case was finished,” Mayle said. “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; the other 30 months.