In a recent press release, the FBI announced that they had uncovered a billion-dollar investment
fraud scheme by using an undercover operation named "Collateral Monte."
This undercover operation was about eight years in the making. The FBI
had received a number of tips and complaints from defrauded investors
so they decided to investigate. One FBI agent posed as an investor who
eventually became another "victim" of the scheme, but used his
experience as evidence to convict the final three members of a group of
This group of investment scammers, like most scammers do, promised investors
and potential investors that they would receive
high returns on investment with little to no risk. The FBI set up a fake financial
advisory office in Orange County, California and posed as advisors to
wealthy O.C. residents. The FBI was, of course, not dealing with actual
investors. They were using this to trap the suspected fraudsters, which
they were eventually able to do.
As the undercover operation progressed, the people running the fraudulent
operation began to use lines directly from the high-yield investment fraud
playbook. We discussed many of these same tactics in our recent blog "Common Red-Flag Sales Pitches." These included:
Persuasion by exclusivity. The fraudsters attempted to persuade potential investors by saying that
they were one of only a few chosen to receive this opportunity. Just because
someone is promising you an "exclusive offer" doesn't mean
it's a legitimate one. In fact, it often is a sign of a scam.
Persuasion by credentials. The con men attempted to lure investors by claiming that this specific
investment program was regulated by the Fed (Federal Reserve Bank). They
falsified credentials in order to make the investment scheme appear solid.
Persuasion by sympathy. The men running the investment scheme also tried to bait potential investors
by claiming part of the returns would go to charity and various humanitarian
Scammers prey on potential investors and are constantly thinking of new
tactics to use to persuade people into giving them their hard-earned money.
Especially during the
holiday season, investment schemes can run rampant. If you or someone you love has become
a victim of an investment scheme such as this, contact a securities fraud
attorney at Meyer Wilson today for a
complimentary consultation regarding your case. Call us today to tell us what happened to you.