Beware of offers that look too good to be true

Inspector: People falling for scams "out of desperation"

Published On: Feb 14 2013 09:43:04 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 05:00:00 AM EST

Looking to earn a rate of return on your money that beats the market by a longshot?  Well join the crowd.  

“People are falling on hard times, they are seeing offers that quite frankly look too good to be true and out of desperation they are falling for them," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Romano.

That's where James Price enters the picture.  Inspectors say he offered to double and triple investors' money in the gold and precious metals market.

“He started off with a very legitimate based company and was actually returning investments to his customers,” said Romano.

But at some point, Price used his company, Madison Precious Metals, as a personal checkbook.

“Basically pays off his house, very high end antiques, luxury cars for him and himself and makes a down payment on a house for his son,” said Romano.

More than $6 million was stolen from investors.  Postal Inspectors say be suspicious of any investment promising double and triple returns.

“These are unrealistic promises of returns on investment. Anyone who sees something along those lines should right off the bat be wary of investing in such a scheme,” Romano warned.

Also, if you think you are a victim of a scam, report it.

“Don’t waste time. The sooner you can inform law enforcement of the scam the investigation can start and we can try to stop some of the fraudulent investments going on," advised Romano.

James Price pleaded guilty to mail fraud. He was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution.