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Rip-Off Alert: Con artist used investment ploy on vulnerable victims

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 8/01/2013 7:48 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- A scam artist is behind bars after swindling nearly $1 million out of susceptible investors.

He devised an elaborate scheme and even appeared on TV as an investment "expert."

This Rip-Off Alert shows that he preyed on the most vulnerable victims.

Barbara lost more than $90,000 in the investment scheme.

“I felt guilty. I felt ashamed, I felt angry. I felt embarrassed,” she said. “We received a mass mailing postcard in the mail from a gentleman who wanted to know if we were happy with our retirement plan.”

The flier said: “Helping you avoid IRA distribution mistakes.” The company slogan? “We haven’t lost a dime in the recession – want to know how?”

Barbara's husband, who was in failing health, decided to meet with Casey Charles, who had appeared on a local money management TV program.

“This was a time when stocks were down and most people were unhappy with what they had, so he just wanted to see what someone else might suggest,” Barbara said.

Barbara and her husband decided to invest with Charles. A short time later, her husband passed away.

“I am responsible for my own problems, but I really was not capable of making good decisions at that point,” she said.

Charles claimed to be investing Barbara’s money and sent fictitious promissory notes to her as proof. But the reality was otherwise.

“He never made any investments on behalf of the investors,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler. “He just used their money for his own personal expenses.”

Postal inspectors say Charles scammed not only Barbara but at least 20 other victims. Their loss was almost $900,000.

“To think of someone coming into someone’s home while there husband is in a wheelchair dying and knowing you’re going to take money from them, it’s despicable,” Schissler said.

“They don’t seem to care or think about what they are doing to other people,” Barbara said. “It is almost as bad as holding someone up with a gun. They got their money however they got it.”

Charles pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced this month to 3-1/2 years in federal prison and has been ordered to pay restitution. He will begin serving his sentence in September.
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