House flipping scam lands former police officer in jail
MADISON (WKOW) -- Reality TV programs show successful careers for people who invest in homes and re-sell them. But one story illustrates how house flipping turned into a multi-million dollar scam.
Putting money in real estate can be a sound investment. So, when some victims heard they could make a 12% return on their money by investing in a business that was buying and then quickly selling houses, hundreds signed up.
The problem, Donald Lacey, the former police officer who pitched them wasn't trying to make "them" money.
U.S. Postal Inspector Marydith Newman says, "What mr. Lacey didn't tell his investors was that the money was going to three entities under his control and he took the money for his personal use."
Postal inspectors say Lacey's investment scam cost more than 200 people over $9 million dollars.
Newman says, "That money was spent, once again on homes, vehicles, boats things along those lines…"
Authorities say Lacey used his position as a former police officer to cheat people around him.
"Mr. Lacey was highly regarded in the community," Says Newman, "The people he solicited from were people he knew very well based on his reputation."
Postal inspectors say it's so important for people to do research before investing any money. If you believe you are a victim of fraud contact USPS investigators.
Donald Lacey pleaded guilty to federal charges of mail fraud and engaging in illegal transactions with money. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.
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