Details are just now emerging in the local Ponzi-like scheme that took Ottawa County seniors for hundreds of thousands of dollars from 2005 until February of this year.
What’s apparent is that the con artists in this particular scam earned the trust of these seniors — most of whom were business-savvy and sharp-minded individuals. Once their trust was gained with what appears to be false promises and "failed" investments over a number of years, the scammers took every red cent they could. Until authorities caught them.
The money’s likely long gone, and the victims are left explaining how they got swindled out of their hard-earned savings.
It’s a shame that this happened to them, and an even greater shame that this kind of thievery happens almost every day in every community in every state.
In many cases, senior citizens are cheated out of their entire savings and are left with little more than broken promises, sadness and shame. Most don’t even report such crimes, because they don’t want to admit to what happened.
That’s the real shame of it all. Senior citizens — your parents, grandparents, husbands, brothers, neighbors — are targeted on a regular basis. And you don’t even know it.
So, hold tight to your pocketbooks and your loved ones. Be watchful. Be wary. Ask questions. Do not, we repeat, do not ever give large sums of money to anyone without first consulting an attorney, your immediate trusted family members or your financial advisor.
And, more than anything, don’t let your guard down.
What a shame that this is the message we must send to our senior citizens.