ATLANTA, Ga. – Investigator say Anthony Tobin stole millions of dollars by preying on the hopes and dreams of people just trying to make a go of their business.
"Small business owners would submit a business plan as well as goals. Mr. Tobin promised he had first hand knowledge on how to receive loans," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Martin Glover.
Tobin owned a company that claimed to help small businesses expand with new funding and Tobin's company charged for its services.
"The victims were told they had to pay a due diligence fee or a maintenance fee, application fee, to help obtain the loan. In actuality, the victims never received any money," Glover added.
Fees ranged anywhere from $2,000 to $100,000, depending on the size of the business.
"Also, they were told after sending the money that there was a problem
proceeding the money and other unforeseen difficulties and they were asked to
send more due diligence money," said Glover.
And in many cases, they did send more money. So fa, 35 victims have lost $5 million. The U.S. Attorney in the case had strong words for Tobin who said, "This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters: stealing with your guile rather than a gun still lands you in prison."
"Many times the people who are victimized are the people who are falling
on hardship as well as elderly individuals who are looking for any way to get by
and it seems like these people are most vulnerable to these advanced fee
schemes," Glover warned. "If you have someone who is pressuring you to send them money to obtain the loan, you need to clarify where you are sending the money."
Tobin was sentenced to seven years in prison for mail fraud and was ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.