Scam Alert: Beware of the affinity scam

Posted at 7:26 PM, Dec 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-31 19:26:58-05

Bryant Rodriquez convinced fellow church parishioners to invest in an electronics business that he claimed could bring them big returns.

“This company was offering a 30% return on peoples’ investment,” says Eleanor Berry, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

More than 100 people jumped at the opportunity.

“He talked. He talked very convincingly and people trusted him,” says Berry.

He even told them to invest with cash. Unfortunately, it was all a scam.

“The people who lost money in this scam were hard-working, blue collared people and they were investing their life savings,” says Berry.

In all, investors lost $3 million dollars.

“These people weren`t sophisticated investors and they basically went on it because they trusted this person. And that`s why they got defrauded because they trusted him,” says Berry.

Eventually, the scam collapsed. Rodriquez was arrested.

Postal inspectors say never let trust get in the way of common sense. There were many red flags along the way.

“30% returns. Ridiculous. Investing cash. Is just another red flag. Not getting statements, that is another red flag,” says Berry.

Bryant Rodriquez was convicted and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Postal inspectors describe Rodriguez`s crime as an affinity scam which is exploiting the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Remember to always research any investment no matter who`s pitching it.