Man gets scammed after agreeing to minister’s investment scheme

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Think about the people you trust the most: your spouse, your doctor, your mother. Would you put your pastor or priest on that list? One man did, and ended up getting scammed.

"I entrusted an individual based on who he was, and I should never have done that," an anonymous fraud victim says.

That individual was a minister, who led the man to believe he knew of an investment that was a sure thing.

"It was very disappointing and hurtful too. I pulled some of my family into this and some extended family members," the fraud victim says.

Postal inspectors say the scheme started in 2008, when a group of individuals posing as an investment company claimed...

"They were mining gold, oil and other metals of that sort. The stock shares started at $100," U.S. Postal Inspector Dennis Cunningham said.

The truth was, it was all a scam!

"They indicated that they had mines in Africa, that they were mining gold, silver, diamonds and they didn`t really have access to any of those mines," Cunningham said.

The bogus investment group initially held seminars in libraries, and then started talking to church groups.

"They got a lot of ministers involved -- openly recruiting. In fact, several ministers entered guilty pleas for conspiracy in the case," Cunningham said.

In all, there were 2,000 victims and more than $7 million in losses.

One of those ministers helped rope the victim and family members into investing thousands.

"I know now even with men of God - you still have to be mindful and investigate whatever you`re investing in - do a thorough investigation," the fraud victim says.

"Research that company. Check BBB in that state. Check to see if there are any complaints filed against them," Cunningham said.

In fact, postal inspectors say a call to state officials could have been beneficial.

"The secretary of state had an open investigation in this case," the fraud victim says.

All investments take a risk. FOX6's Contact 6 advises taking the time to thoroughly research the company or people who want you to invest.