U.S. postal inspectors are sending a warning to the many baby boomers who are thinking about the next chapter in their lives: Exercise extreme caution when spending your savings to finance a new business.
John Sanders and his wife, Gloria, a caterer by trade, dreamed of converting an old church into a party venue. Catering big events would be the couple's next big adventure together. But first, the Sanders would need a mortgage to purchase the $1.6 million property. They asked their real estate agent for help finding a mortgage broker.
"Unfortunately, we were put in touch with someone who turned out to be a criminal," said John.
The mortgage broker, Ann Ursiny, promised to help the Sanders get the financing they needed.
"There were a lot of things done to reinforce the legitimacy or reinforce the legitimacy of the firm and we fell for it," said John.
Ursiny strung the Sanders along with phony fees and permits that cost more and more money until they ran through their savings.
"We saw this money was funneled directly to bank accounts to this individual in Florida – Ann Ursiny – and she was spending this money daily," explained Postal Inspector Andrew Jones.
Over a four-year period, the Sanders lost a total of a million dollars, making their dream impossible to realize.
"They are now left with absolutely nothing. Ms Ursiny took everything from their 401K, their retirement funds, savings, checking. Now they are left destitute trying to find work at age 80," said Jones.
"Very sad. We're in a terrible financial position," added Sanders.
Postal Inspectors say only work with people you know well, especially when large amounts of money are involved. As for Ann Ursiny- she eventually confessed to the scheme, is serving a six-year prison sentence, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Sanders' but the couple is not optimistic they will get their money back.