Con man claimed product would help military

200 victims lost money after investing in phony company

Investigators say Jef Curran convinced hundreds of investors to pour money into his company, Gargoyles, Inc.

"He is probably the best salesman I've ever seen in my entire life. He was just believable," said scam victim Larry Helminiak.

The business was said to be an advanced materials application company.

"The uniqueness is that all clothes were woven two-dimensionally. He developed a method of weaving them three-dimensionally so that when he was finished making his project they were bullet proof. He was telling people he had contracts with military of foreign countries," said Helminiak.

Authorities say Curran knew what he was doing. In one year, he sold more than $1.9 million worth of stock in his company, promising ten times the return. It was an easy sell.

"It could even be used on the outside of Humvees instead of steal. In that way people in the audience would say, 'Geeze, this is a great investment. We'd be helping our soldiers,'" Helminiak added.

However, it was all a lie. As victims started asking questions, they realized there were problems.

"And when I went in, it was him and his secretary and a big empty building with no one working. If he has all of these multimillion-dollar orders across the world, someone should be making the product," explained Helminiak.

There were more than 200 victims by the time this scam came to an end. Curran was sentenced to three years in prison on securities and mail fraud. He was also ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution.

Meantime, to avoid something similar happening to you, inspectors say do your research before investing in anything.

"If the investment is a sound investment, the opportunity will still be there for you to invest after you have had the chance to do your research to find out about the company," warned U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler.