LEXINGTON, Ky. (Consumer Alert) - The words 'guaranteed profits' are pretty powerful if you are looking to invest your hard earned money, but as there are no sure things in investing and no matter how well you think you know the people involved, do your own research.
Former oilman Rayburn Doss thought he had nothing to lose by reading the information. "He says well, it's a great opportunity for investment, the money's right, we've got five wells up and running and producing and I can send you all of the information on this."
"The guy was pretty persistent. So, he sent me a sheet telling me here you can buy into 10 percent 15 or 20 percent of these five wells that's producing. Here's what you're going to get every month royalty guaranteed," said Doss.
Rayburn had recently heard of people making a lot of money in the oil and gas field, so he decided to invest along with 200 other people. After the first 30 days, he expected a residual check.
"First month went by, I got nothing," said Doss.
He called repeatedly but no one was answering the phone. Postal inspectors traced the oil and gas fraud to John G. Westine and his team of hired telemarketers.
"These guys are charming. They somehow seem to be able to befriend people, talk their way into people's lives, they are good at getting things for nothing or for cheap," said US Postal Inspector Roberta Bottoms.
Westine was already on probation when he was arrested in the case.
"He served more than 20 years in federal prison for running in essence the same type of scheme. He went to prison back in '91. So, within months he was back at it upon release of prison. I don't think he knows any better," said Bottoms.
Many of the victims were, obviously, devastated by the crime.
Postal inspectors recommend everyone doing their own due diligence when it comes to investing. Check the company on the Internet and with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any formal complaints.