THE FAKE INVESTMENT AGENT

Posted on Posted in Investigations
June 20, 2016 
By Private Detective Fernando Alvarez
DIARIO LAS AMERICAS
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Generally, in all types of businesses or professions, there is fraud and scam, but I have come to realize that many of the scam cases that I have investigated have been related to the investment business. Investments in which ordinary people deposit their savings and even money obtained from loans on the value of their houses, and then enjoy the interest earned. This is an easy way to make a living when you have money saved, although these investments have their own risks, I have found worse risk; false investment agents.
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A woman called my office and began to explain the following case: “A year ago, I invested $50,000 dollars in an oil extraction opportunity on a Pacific island with an investment firm from my city whose advertisement I saw on the internet. I am a single woman who has saved that money with years of hard work, savings and sacrifices and saw this investment as a short-term economic opportunity, because I was promised 40% annual profits and no risks. I signed the investment contract, personally, and although the office was small, Julio [name has been changed], the financial adviser who attended me was very educated and explained in detail the investment plan, the profits, the absence of risks and his long history As a counselor and investment agent. Julio confirmed to me that many people were investing in this unique opportunity and that I did not want to lose it. Every month I communicated with Julio to know how everything was going with the investment, and according to his own words everything was going very well, two months went by that he did not respond, I went to his office but it was already closed. I kept trying until I was able to make contact again, he told me that he had moved out of the office and that he had been out of the country because of the oil extraction investments and that the news was not good. He informed me that the oil well had no oil and that all the money invested was lost. He proceeded to tell me that, legally, there was nothing that he or I could do. I thought that I should forget the money and I did not think to do anything legal against him. I am frustrated and desperate. I want to locate his new office and his assets to be able to sue and denounce it. “
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“Hands on,” I replied. I did not want to go into details because I understood the suffering my client was going through, but there were several details that caught my attention. My client invested based on an “Internet advertisement”, a typical place to announce investment scams. She was promised 40% of the profit which was too good to be true. “Zero investment risks” was a red flag since there are no risk-free investments. “Everybody is investing in this opportunity”, is a typical hook of the fraudulent investor. “Oil investment on a Pacific Island” is said so that the place is far away enough so that you cannot verify anything. This story was familiar to me and did not sit right..
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Not only did I plan the investigation in order to locate Julio and his precious assets, I also focused on possible fraud. To no surprise, Julio promoted his Internet investment agency but used different names and telephones in each advertisement. His company was registered as a corporation and on his behalf included the bombastic term “investments” although was not registered as an investment agency either at the state level or at the federal level. In other words, his agency was fake. Julio did not have properties to his name, ‘nor did his business have properties. The list of demands against him and his business was long. During the investigation, we found two more victims of Julio, one for $30,000 and the other for $25,000, the minimum amount to invest in this “safe oil opportunity.” Thanks to information provided by these victims and to our own investigative tools we were able to locate Julio’s new office strategically located in the financial zone of a city located more than 200 miles from the city where he had defrauded my client. It seems that Julio preferred to victims of women of low academic level and undocumented in the US, in that way reduced the chances of being denounced. This time Julio shot back, with the testimony of my client and the two victims, plus the investigative report, we managed to file a complaint for fraud, criminal organization to commit fraud, and business operation without a license. Julio had his days counted.
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For your own safety, always check the credentials and licenses of the professionals you are going to hire. Check their background to see if they have had criminal, civil, financial and administrative problems. Never invest in a type of business that you do not know thoroughly, because if you do not know the business you will not know which promises are real and which are false. Educate yourself on how to identify fraud in a timely manner.
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Be aware of fraud, but if you need help, please call us at 866-224-1245.