FORT MYERS, Fla. - WINK News Call for Action is uncovering a scam that we've never heard of before. But we want to make sure you know what to look for so it doesn't happen to you.
The suspect in this story conned his fellow church goers out of millions of dollars. In the process, he ruined dozens of lives.
"He is a very likable person; he is Christian, a big church-goer, very active in the church and the entire time he was scamming all these people," said Earlene Dean, fraud victim.
The scam was to invest in the cattle market in Honduras. Earlene Dean was told she would get rich. What she didn't know was that she was being lured into a ponzi scheme.
"We invested pretty much everything we had with him," said Dean.
Which came to more than $100,000. Dean's sister invested as well and she lost even more.
"My parents lost all of their savings. Dollar amount is roughly $480,000 I think. 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," said Wanda Thompson, sister of fraud victim.
"He targeted these elderly people, not to give them 15-20 percent on their money; it was to put money in his pocket," said Sonya Ofchus, US Postal Inspector.
U.S Postal Inspectors said 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 Ofchus.
"I've learned from this experience not to trust anyone even if you think you know him. As far investing any money, keep it in the bank, where it is safe," said Dean.
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