In a rare interview, an experienced con-man explained how he lured his victims into his scams, stealing millions in the process.
"You never take no for an answer. You just keep pounding and eventually you will hit their greed button," said John Conley.
And he should know. He's been convicted twice for his roles in various telemarketing investment schemes.
"The whole point of telemarketing is to win over the people with your personality and that personality can be whatever you choose for the day," said the ex-con artist.
Conley's most recent scam was a "boiler room operation" where his employees would cold call consumers and convince them to invest in oil and gas leases.
"Those people are lonely and they won't hang up. So, you can keep talking on the phone. You keep talking and they will literally tell how much is in their bank account," Conley said.
"John Conley is not unlike many other con artists I see, that they are very pleasant people. They use their personality to befriend the investor," said US Postal Inspector Roberta Bottoms. "They prey upon seniors who may be spending a lot of time alone and be lonely so he'll spend a lot of time on the phone with them to earn their trust and take their money."
More than 100 investors lost $3.5 million in the oil and gas scam.
"John made them big promises, he was going to make them rich. He said there was a lot of oil and gas and he knew where it was, he just needed money to drill the wells and get it to market," Bottoms said.
But those promises were lies. Bottoms said Conley never sold a drop of oil or vapor of gas. And Conley said he's sorry for what he did.
"I look back on that time and think it's just about the most asinine thing I ever did because there was an honest way to do it," he said.
"This is an addiction for him. When he made that sale he got a thrill out of it. The thrill of cheating somebody and knowing he could talk them out of their money was what drove him more than the money," Bottoms said.
Always do your research before investing. If the victims in this case had researched Conley, they would have learned he had been convicted of mail fraud before they signed up for this scam.
Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Monday, September 1 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:00:16 GMT
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