The next time you hear about an investment from a friend or even a church group, be extra cautious.
"We thought, 'Wow, what an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with this company,'" said Becky Gilbert, fraud victim. The company Becky Gilbert heard about from a friend was GNX-PERTS, which developed new products.
Becky and her husband were very interested in one specific product--an additive that allows plastic or paint to glow in the dark.
"It didn't seem ordinary glow in the dark," said Becky Gilbert, fraud victim. "It was very vibrant glow in the dark, it was lasts a long time, it was put into anything from car paint, to paint for the roads, the striping for the road."
The Gilberts worked in the trucking business and thought the investment was solid. "Everybody is talking about safety in the transportation industry so we were like, 'Wow you know this opportunity, because we know this product would get sold,'" said Becky Gilbert, fraud victim.
GNX-PERTS made a convincing pitch. "They brought some of the product and PowerPoint presentation to show us," said Becky Gilbert, fraud victim. "They told us that the opportunity would be to purchase stock at $25,000 per share."
The Gilberts bought "two" shares for $50,000. 90 days after investing, their optimism quickly turned to disbelief, when they got a call from postal inspectors. "Very foolish at first to think 'how could this possibly happen?' "We run a business, college educated people, how could this happen to us?"
More than 50 people were victims with losses totaling $4-million.
Inspectors say the product was real, but the company was only interested in making as much money as possible. "So, they had no conscience as far as I can view it because they were really targeting anyone and everyone in order to get money out of them," said Laura Mahlke, US Postal Inspector.
Inspectors say be skeptical of investment opportunities you hear about through friends or social groups. "Still do your own checking," said Laura Mahlke, US Postal Inspector. "What I learned in this case, was that this person may believe it is legitimate and they maY NOT realize they are part of the scheme trying to lure you in - so do your own independent checking of someone trying to sell you investments, stock shares."
The Gilberts never got any of their money back and feel they now can not trust anyone.