Eighty-year-old Charles Betts is back at work, transporting cattle again. He had to go back to work after losing more than $100,000 of his savings in an investment scam.
“I ain't got nothing left,” he said.
He invested money in a wireless communications network called EPCOM.
U.S. Postal Inspector Robert Strande said investors were told the company’s goal was to cover the gaps in cellular service that the big companies were not providing. Betts along with 500 others put $7 million into the project. The problem was, no cell towers were ever built and the investors lost everything.
“Financial ruin, devastation,” said Strande. "These were farmers, retired individuals who did not have the ability to just go back to work and recoup their losses."
Postal inspectors began tracking the case and arrested Eldon Anderson as the mastermind.
“He would say if you don't get in now, you are going to lose an opportunity to invest and make a lot of money,” said Strande.
Inspectors say victims fell for the false sense of urgency Anderson created. They say when considering investments you should take your time and ask a lot of questions.
“Constantly ask questions, ask for information. If they are being evasive or if they are not giving any answers at all -- be suspect of that. Walk away,” said Strande.
“I think you should do more investigating than I did,” added Betts.
Anderson is now in Federal Prison serving an eight-year sentence for selling unregistered securities in a phantom rural wireless communications network.