At the end of every investment scam, there is a lesson learned. In one particular scheme, US Postal Inspectors say there is a takeaway that could save the next unsuspecting victim a fortune.
"The fraud involved a hedge fund that didn't exist and an investment advisor who had tricked four investors," explained US Postal Inspector Greg Ghiozzi.
Robert Beauchene was that advisor.
"He had acted as investment advisor while he worked in New York," said Ghiozzi. "He moved down to Wilmington, NC but maintained relationship with them and asked them to invest in this hedge fund."
Beauchene promised investors a 10% to 20% return on their money. They trusted him, so they made the leap.
"The previous relationship was an important aspect of him gaining their trust. He was also a very personable guy, very interesting guy and that also helped win over their trust," said Ghiozzi.
Investors received stock certificates as well as monthly statements showing a healthy profit for the fund. But, they were phony documents. After several months investors started to have questions.
"The investors realized they had been scammed when Robert Beauchene stopped returning their calls and seemingly fell off the face of the earth," explained Ghiozzi.
The small group of investors lost more than $140,000, money authorities believe Beauchene used for himself. several victims were devastated.
"The money they invested was all they had in savings and the loss of that money had a dramatic effect on their lives," Ghiozzi said.
Inspectors say the victims had such a strong relationship with Beauchene they were hesitant to believe he scammed them.
"Not only is there a financial loss, but there is also an emotional loss, and sometimes that emotional loss of trust is actually more damaging than the financial losses," added Ghiozzi.
Inspectors warn that you should never let your emotions guide your investment decisions, and you should always do your research.
Meantime, Beauchene was sentenced to one year in prison plus three years of supervised release.
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