Andy's Got Your Back on a Bernie Madoff wanna-be - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on a Bernie Madoff wanna-be

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC TV) - He had everyone fooled.

U.S. postal inspectors arrested Shawn Merriman of Colorado, a lay bishop in the Mormon church, on charges he ran a Ponzi scheme for more than 15 years.

Pulling the wool over the eyes of friends, family and church members, Merriman bilked more than $20 million from them, according to investigators.

"He started taking money from investors, spending it on trips all over the world, including safaris, trips to Europe, using it for his own personal gain," said U.S. Postal Inspector Pamela Durkee.

When inspectors raided Merriman's home, they seized a 2006 Aston Martin, rows and rows of artwork and a baseball collection that included signatures from Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.   

All bought on the backs of investors like Tim Gilmartin. He and his wife invested more than $100,000 with Merriman.

"I was in shock," he said. "I was numb. We heard he never invested a penny (of what we paid him)."

Postal inspectors said always check your monthly and annual investment statements with the actual fund groups in which your advisor is supposedly investing your money.

Inspectors said Merriman eventually pleaded guilty. He's serving 12 years in prison.

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