Do Your Research Before Investing in New Products - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Do Your Research Before Investing in New Products


Hearing about a new product before it hits the market can be intriguing for potential investors.  One couple thought they were getting in on the ground floor of a glowing investment, but it turned out to be a fraud.

"We thought, 'Wow, what an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with this company.'"

Fraud victim Becky Gilbert says she heard about the company Gnx-perts from a friend.  The Gilberts were very interested in one specific product - an additive that allows plastic or paint to glow in the dark.

"It didn't seem ordinary glow-in-the-dark," said Gilbert. "It was very vibrant glow in the dark, it was 'lasts a long time,' it was put into anything from car paint, to paint for the roads, the striping for the road."

The Gilberts were in the trucking business and thought the investment was solid.  It was a convincing pitch.

"They brought some of the product and a Power Point presentation to show us," said Gilbert. "They told us that the opportunity would be to purchase stock at $25,000 a share."

The Gilberts invested $50,000.  Ninety days later, their optimism quickly turned to disbelief when they received a call from postal inspectors.

Becky was stunned. "Very foolish at first to think 'how could this possibly happen?' We run a business, college-educated people, how could this happen to us?"

More than 50 people were victims of this fraud, with losses totaling $4 million.

Inspectors say the Gnx-perts company was shut down. The main suspect is in prison, two others remain fugitives.

"So, they had no conscience as far as I can view it, because they were targeting anybody and everyone in order to get money out of them," said Laura Mahlke, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Inspectors urge you to be skeptical of investment opportunities you hear about through friends or social groups.

"Still do your own checking," said Mahlke. "What I learned in this case, was that this person may believe it is legitimate and they may not realize they are being involved in the scheme trying to lure you in, so do your own independent checking of someone trying to sell you investments, stock shares."

The Gilberts never got any of their money back and now feel they can't trust anyone.

"The anger I felt to have been stolen from, if you've ever been stolen from and just have something you've worked so hard be taken from you,  lied to. A lot of anger, distrust of people in general," said Gilbert.

Three suspects were indicted in this case. One suspect was arrested and two remain fugitives. The main suspect was ordered to serve four years of prison time and pay over $4 million in restitution.






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