NORTH CAROLINA (WITI) — He lured them in with the promise of making millions, but instead one couple lost everything in an investment scam.
"I was very angry – very disheartened because I really trusted him,” said fraud victim Misty Helms.
Misty was crushed to find out she and her husband lost all of their savings in a bogus investment.
"I owned a restaurant and he ate in my restaurant everyday. For approximately 30 years, I've known this man,” Misty said.
Misty was talking about Bill Stacey. He claimed he had recently sold his formula for a drug that could help cure cancer.
"He set up a whole demonstration on how everything worked. I mean, he had pamphlets, a DVD. It looked legit. It looked like a real company,” Misty explained.
Stacey claimed his firm was about to be acquired by a large pharmaceutical company. He told Misty he was selling a limited number of stock options before the acquisition and they would be affordable.
"Really cheap. 10 for $1 and he was wanting to share the wealth with us,” Misty said.
Misty invested almost $3,000 based on Stacey's claim she could make millions, but the money never came.
"That was our nest egg. That was everything we had saved up – every penny. It wasn't much, but it was everything to us,” said Misty.
Misty's husband filed a police complaint and they soon learned they were not alone.
"He would approach people in church, friends he knew through acquaintances in town,” U.S. Postal Inspector Christopher Davis explained.
There were hundreds of victims.
"They felt very betrayed by Mr. Stacey by pitching this thing, thinking they were helping him and, basically, he was just padding his own pocket,” Davis said.
Stacey is serving a five-year prison sentence with an additional three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay back restitution to victims of more than $260,000.
Contact 6 says before you make an investment, do your research and be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true.
"Talk to a friend, a good friend, and say, ‘hey, I got this opportunity to invest. What do you think about that opportunity to invest?’” Davis suggests.