Millions Lost to Wireless Investment Scam - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Millions Lost to Wireless Investment Scam

Updated:

It sounded like a great idea: invest in a company that provides cell phone service where no one has it.

But as 80-year-old Charles Betts found out the hard way, it was all a scam. 

"I ain't got nothing left, hardly to do anything with," said Betts.

Betts is back at work transporting cattle after he lost more than $100,000 of his savings in the investment scheme.

Charles invested money in a wireless communications network called Epcom.

The company's goal:

"To cover the gaps in cellular service that the big companies were not providing," said Robert Strande, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Betts, along with 500 others, put $7 million into the project.  The problem: no cell towers were ever built and the investors lost everything.

"Financial ruin, devastation.  These were farmers, retired individuals who did not have the ability to just go back to work and recoup their losses," said Strande.

Postal inspectors began tracking the case and arrested Eldon Anderson as the mastermind.

"He would say, 'if you don't get in now, you are going to lose an opportunity to invest and make a lot of money,'" said Strande.

Victims fell for the false sense of urgency Anderson created.

Some advice from postal inspectors: when considering investments, take your time and ask a lot of questions.

"Constantly ask questions, ask for information," said Strande. "If they are being evasive or if they are not giving any answers at all, be suspect of that. Walk away."

Eldon Anderson is now in federal prison.  He was sentenced to 8 years for selling unregistered securities in a phantom rural wireless communications network.

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