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Rip-Off Alert: No coverage in cell phone investment

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 6/25/2013 6:51 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- It sounded like a great idea: Invest in a company that provides cell service where no one has it.

However, in this Rip-Off Alert, this was a scam that stole millions from vulnerable investors.

Charles Betts, 80, was forced to find work again. He transports cattle again after he lost more than $100,000 of his savings in an investment scam.

Betts said he invested money in a wireless communications network called Epcom. The company's goal was to cover the gaps in cellular service that the big companies were not providing, according to U.S. Postal Inspector Robert Strande.

Betts, along with 500 others, put $7 million into the project. The problem: Cell towers were never built, and investors lost everything.

“Financial ruin, devastation.” Strande said. “These were farmers, retired individuals who did not have the ability to just go back to work and recoup their losses.”

Postal inspectors began tracking the case and arrested Eldon Anderson as the mastermind.

“He would say if you don't get in now, you are going to lose an opportunity to invest and make a lot of money,” Strande said.

Victims fell for the false sense of urgency Anderson created.

Postal inspectors advise that when considering investments, take your time and ask a lot of questions.

“Constantly ask questions, ask for information,” Strande said. “If they are being evasive or if they are not giving any answers at all, be suspect of that. Walk away.”

Anderson is now in federal prison, serving an eight-year sentence for selling unregistered securities in a phantom rural wireless communications network.


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