Rip-Off Alert: Only home improvement this scammer made was to his bank account
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
Victims call it a financial disaster – an investment scheme that offered no homes nor improvement.
The pitch was strong – invest in the renovation of old apartments in Manhattan – then flip them.
Investors were told they could double – even triple – their money by investing with Abbe Edelman.
“We gave him a big chunk of money,” said one victim, who did not want to be identified. “To us, $15,000 is a big chunk of money.”
The victim says she did her research.
The apartments Edelman wanted to buy and sell were legitimately on sale online. And no complaints or suits against Edelman could be found.
“On paper he looked great,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Greg Botti, “but unfortunately, like so many times, it was a lot of lies.”
Postal inspectors say Edelman orchestrated a Ponzi scheme for 8 to 10 years.
“Only so many people can get brought in,” Botti said. “And there is never going to be enough money, and it just collapses like a house of cards.”
Thirty victims lost more than $3 million.
One victim not only lost her money – she also told her mom about the opportunity.
“She wrote me a $5,000 check,” she said. “Now that does affect my mother. I’m the one who told her about it, so ultimately I feel like I am the one that hurt her.”
Postal inspectors say take the extra time and check everything when investing your money.
“You can always reach out to your state bureau of securities or secretary of state and see if that person or the entities they control are registered,” Botti said.
Edelman pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay almost $3 million in restitution.