Andy's Got Your Back on financial advisor fraud - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on financial advisor fraud

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A scam artist is in jail after devising an elaborate scheme, even appearing on TV as an investment "expert."

33-year-old Casey Charles of Baltimore, MD, pleaded guilty to mail fraud. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Charles promised clients, primarily seniors, to help them make safe retirement investments. 

Instead, he kept their money for his personal use.

"I felt guilty. I felt ashamed," said 'Barbara,' one of Charles's victims. Prosecutors said she lost more than $90,000 in Charles's scheme. It included Charles appearing in his own public-access TV investment advice show, and it netted a total of $900,000 from 22 victims.

"We received a mass mailing postcard in the mail from (Charles), who wanted to know if we were happy with our retirement plan," she said.

She said her sick husband met with Charles to discuss shifting his retirement money to the scam investment, promising higher rates of return.

"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," she said.

They invested with Charles, then her husband died. 

It wasn't long before postal inspectors learned the truth about the investments.

"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."

Always research the credentials of any financial advisor with your state financial regulator and with the Better Business Bureau. The bureau partners with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to provide consumers an online resource for checking financial advisors: http://www.bbb.org/smart-investing/.

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