A pair of con-artists have been convicted in a $36 million scam, but not before they outsmarted more than 250 people.
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"He basically guaranteed the wells would be productive and investors would make money," said fraud victim Robert Buechner.
Buechner was talking about Gary Milby - one of the men behind Mid-America Oil and Gas.
Milby and Attorney Brian Coffman promised potential investors big returns. Buechner was intrigued and did his due diligence, visiting the oil wells. He said he was impressed to see oil gushing from them.
"He would say ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be 60 barrels a day, this looks like a real winner, 90 barrels a day," Buechner said.
The sad truth: It was all a show.
"What we find is that they pumped that oil in and staged it for the investors to make an impression on them," said US Postal Inspector Roberta Bottoms. "It's another tactic they used to try and make people make a decision quickly and it plays on the investors' emotions."
The scam began to unravel when investors started asking questions about their statements.
"This isn't a case of inadequate due diligence done, the due diligence was flawed, because you didn't get the right answers. I don't know how you get right answers, when you ask the right questions when people purposely give you the wrong answers," Buechner said.
Coffman and Milby were each charged with eight counts of mail fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. Milby was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and Coffman received 25 years.
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