LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Here is a warning to the many baby boomers who are thinking about the next chapter in their lives -- if it requires spending large chunks of your savings to finance that new business, exercise extreme caution.
John sanders and his wife, Gloria, a caterer by trade, dreamed of converting an old church into a party venue. Catering big events would be the couple's next big adventure together.
But first the Sanderses would need a mortgage to purchase the $1.6 million property. They asked their real estate agent for help finding a mortgage broker.
"I bought into the dream to support her," he said. "Unfortunately, we were put in touch with someone who turned out to be a criminal."
The mortgage broker -- Ann Ursiny-- promised to help the Sanderses get the financing they needed.
"There were a lot of things done to reinforce the legitimacy or reinforce the legitimacy of the firm, and we fell for it,” Sanders said.
Ursiny strung the Sanderses along with phony fees and permits that cost more and more money until they ran through their savings.
"We saw this money was funneled directly to bank accounts to this individual in Florida -- Ann Ursiny -- and she was spending this money daily," said U.S. Postal Inspector Andrew Jones.
Over a four-year period, the Sanderses lost a total of $1 million, making their dream impossible to realize.
"They are now left with absolutely nothing,” Jones said. “Ms. Ursiny took everything from their 401K, their retirement funds, savings, checking. Now they are left destitute trying to find work at age 80."
"Very sad,” Sanders said. “We're in a terrible financial position."
Postal inspectors say only work with people you know well, especially when large amounts of money are involved.
As for Ursiny, she eventually confessed to the scheme, is serving a six-year prison sentence, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Sanderses. But the couple is not optimistic they will get their money back.