Victims lose thousands investing to a person they knew and trusted
2:21 PM, Jan 8, 2013
3:16 PM, Jan 8, 2013
Some people aren't who they appear to be and when it comes to investing, that deception led to millions of dollars lost and dozens of lives ruined.
"He is a very likable person," fraud victim Earlene Dean said about the man she gave money to invest. "He is Christian, a big church-goer, very active in the church, and the entire time he was scamming all of us."
Invest in the cattle market in Honduras, Dean was told, and she'd get rich. What she didn't know is that she was being lured into a Ponzi scheme.
"We invested pretty much everything we had with him," Dean said.
That came to more than $100,000. Dean's sister invested too, and she lost even more.
"My parents lost all of their savings. The dollar amount is roughly $480,000, I think," said the victim's daughter, Wanda Thompson. "My parents did receive a couple of checks, which were 'interest' checks, a relatively small amount which I felt was his way of keeping them happy."
U.S. Postal inspectors say there were more than 40 victims and $2 million in losses.
"He was able to do this by being in the community, living in the community, earning their trust by going to their home, then in their church," said inspector Sonya Ofchus.
"I've learned from this experience not to trust anyone, even if you think you know him," Dean said. "As far as investing any money, keep it in the bank, where it is safe."