Jack Thomas admits he should have done his homework before investing in a foreign currency investment, but the deal seemed too good to pass up.
Other family members were already involved with Alex Efrosman and were boasting about making a lot of money.
“They were telling everyone in the family, 'this is a good deal'. In six months, he got 10-15% of his initial investment back in his account with his name on it,” says Jack Thomas, a fraud victim.
The family 'thought' they were making money based on fake statements Efrosman supplied.
“I wanted to invest for my grand children`s education,” says Thomas.
Literally, days after jack wired his money, Efrosman fled the country with jack`s $50,000 as well as the $7 million dollars from more than 150 other victims.
“You`re stunned in the beginning, and then then when you start to think this money is never coming back and this guy is never coming back and he just took off with it,” says Thomas.
Postal inspectors say Efrosman was a seasoned veteran in the scam business.
“He had no remorse because he did it not once - but twice. He did the same scam again,” says Michael DelGiudice, a Postal Inspector.
He was indicted on fraud charges years before this scam.
“Efrosman was a very intelligent person. Instead of using his intelligence to benefit people - he used it to scam people,” says DelGiudice.
The money mostly went to personal use.
“He had expensive habits. He had a drug problem so he was using it for drugs, he bought expensive cars, he had a Prosche, he would do work on his apartment,” says DelGiudice.
Postal inspectors say always check out a potential investment online. In fact, a simple Internet search would have turned up Efrosman`s past record.
“I`m very skeptical of anything now. I don`t jump into anything anymore. I learned my lesson, hopefully,” says Thomas.
Efrosman was eventually extradited from Poland, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $4 million dollars in restitution.