Scam artist preys on generous investors - CBS46 News

Scam artist preys on generous investors

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Investors were promised low risk and high returns when they gave thousands to help improve technology in third world countries. But this deal that sounded too good to be true, was.

"They dangled the carrot just far enough out in front of you to keep you interested," said Joe Mackey, one of the investors victimized in this scam.

He was told his money was going towards renovating power plants in Nigeria.

"People would only have to pay 10 cents and there are so many people in Nigeria who needed power that it would make him millions and millions of dollars," explained Stephanie Barrett, a US Postal Inspector.

Investors were promised big returns.

"The stockholders were told that they could expect 3 to 4 times the return of their money within a year of the power plants being built," Barrett said.

But it was all a lie. Postal inspectors say the con man running this scheme was just stealing their money.

"I felt angry, I felt foolish, I felt betrayed," Mackey said.

He wasn't alone. More than 300 victims lost more than $1.5 million. Postal inspectors say an honest employee ratted out the ringleaders to police.

"The stockholders were not going to receive any of their money and the money that was actually being spent, was being spent on personal living expenses not for the company," said Barrett.

Postal inspectors warn all consumers to do their research before investing and always be weary of promises of big returns.

"The odds of getting a million dollars for a $3,200 share is very slim," Barrett said.

The main suspect in this case pleaded guilty to mail fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. He faces up to 20 years for each fraud count and a maximum sentence of 10 years for money laundering.

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