Undated -- Even if an investment looks like a sure thing, don't take someone's word for it. Do your own research.
U.S. Postal Inspectors said one couple learned the hard way that trusting the wrong person, can cost you, big time. Daria Lisco said she was shocked and surprised that she and her husband lost more than $20,000 in an investment their neighbor told them about. Lisco said, "A nursing home investment and the returns were pretty good - maybe 8% and we decided we would invest money in that - because it was a good deal."
For months, the Lisco's said their investment appeared to be making them money for months. Lisco said, "One of the things about it is that he went through a legitimate company and checks were coming from that company so it wasn't like you think this is a scam."
Yet, it was, a ponzi scheme orchestrated by a former financial advisor, to be exact.
Daniel Forrester, U.S. Postal Inspector said, "They were usually his own clients, so he knew who to approach." Postal inspectors say the suspect created a fictitious nursing home investment in which 13 victims invested $10 million dollars.
Forrester said, "The product did not exist. He used their purchases of the product to return interest payments to the client to keep the scheme going."
But they say not all the money went into the ponzi scheme. They say he diverted 80% to his own accounts and 20% to make interest payments.
Lisco said, "I would ask him how he could take advantage of people and a friend, how could he live with that taking money and spending it lavishly on himself."
Postal inspectors emphasize that it's important to thoroughly research any investment opportunity before you actually invest.
In this case, the suspect was indeed who he said he was -a licensed financial advisor - but the product he was supposedly selling was not real.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
WFMY News 2/US Postal Inspectors