Friends and Family Can Betray

It had all the markings of a scam, the promise of astronomical returns on an investment. Never any losses. But a large group of investors trusted it was all true because the ringleader was family.

Robert Hollins says one of his friends lured him in into a foreign currency investment opportunity that promised generous returns.

"The pitch I got was because it was foreign exchange, they could make money regardless if the dollar went up or down," Robert said.

The two men running the investment promised returns as high as 20 or 25% and investors saw that to be true in their monthly reports.

"You get a false sense of security when you are getting monthly statements showing earnings. I should have realized that there were no months with losses, that should have been an absolute red flag," Robert explained.

The problem: those notes, the monthly reports along with the investments themselves were all part of a fraudulent scheme. The victims, 50 of them who lost more than a million dollars, were all friends and family of the ring leaders.

Jason Crowe, US Postal Inspector, said, "They were not only hit financially, many of them lost their life savings but they were also hurt by the fact that they were taken in by someone who meant so much to them."

"I defended him with vigor until it finally dawned on me it was a scam. I just couldn't believe it - because I trusted him and I trusted what he told me, because he hadn't given me any reason not to trust him," said Robert.

"They lost homes, they lost businesses and they lost the opportunity to have the retirement they planned on having," Crowe said.

Postal inspectors say consumers must research all investments. Robert Hollins already has a new approach.

"I am invested with some big name companies and I personally think it's a much safer route than dealing with individuals," said Robert.

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