Victim shares story about being scammed

Promises of 'low risk', 'high returns' lured people in

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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"Low risk" and "high returns" was the promise when investors turned over their hard earned money,

"They dangled the carrot just far enough in front of you to keep you interested," explained Joe Mackey.

Mackey thought he was investing in improving technology in third world countries, but in reality, he was caught in a scam.

"Renovating the old power plants that they have, bringing them up to the modern age so they function at peak capacity," he said.

"People would only have to pay 10 cents and there are so many people in Nigeria who needed power that it would make him millions and millions of dollars," added US Postal Inspector Stephanie Barrett.

Investors were promised big returns.

"The stockholders were told that they could expect 3 to 4 times the return of their money within a year of the power plants being built. So within 2 years they would receive probably $1 million and it would  just continue up from there," explained Barrett.

"It offered an opportunity for a better life for my wife, my kids and myself," said Mackey.

But it was all a lie. Postal inspectors say the con man running this scheme was just stealing their money.

"I felt angry. I felt foolish. I felt betrayed," admitted Mackey.

More than 300 victims lost more than $1.5 million. Postal inspectors say an honest employee  who worked for the ringleader, went to police and told them what was happening.

"The stockholders were not going to receive any of their money and the money that was actually being spent, was being spent on personal living expenses not for the company," said Barrett.

Postal inspectors warn all consumers to do their research before investing and always be weary of promises like "low risk" and "big returns."

"The odds of getting a million dollars for a $3,200 share is very slim," said Barrett.

The man behind the scam pleaded guilty to mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.  He faces up to 20 years in prison for each fraud count and up to 10 years for money laundering..

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