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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Beware of these four words

Updated: Tuesday, April 1 2014, 08:54 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- When someone is trying to sell you an investment you need to carefully listen for four words.

One large group of investors now realizes they could have a million dollars if they had known of those words which, in most cases, indicate a scam.

Hope Cerda, a Postal Inspector, said, "He convinced them that he was going to make them a ton of money."
 
"He" is Hector Gallardo, a US stock broker, who targeted investors in Bolivia.
 
Cerda said, "This individual went down to Bolivia, you know, wined and dined them basically and told them that everything was guaranteed and they can make money on the stock exchange and they just had to send the money and he would take care of everything for you.  He told them that they could get basically a rate of return of 18% guaranteed."
 
300 victims sent Gallardo, who was born in Argentina, a little more than a million dollars.  He was very charismatic. He knew the language and he was able to befriend the people.  They were enticed by the fact that he was from South America and that he had made it in the United States so they figured that he could help them make it.
 
The people who invested with Gallardo were not rich.
 
"All of them are working class people. They don't have a lot of money.  They were looking to better themselves.  They weren't looking to make millions of dollars, they were just looking to help their families out," Cerda said.
 
Authorities say Gallardo deposited their money in his own bank account.
 
"He took the money and went on vacations. He had nice cars, he had a beautiful home. He just spent the money anyway he wanted to make his life better," Cerda continued.
 
The take-away from this case is if someone is guaranteeing you a rate of return that is much higher than you know to be factual, it most likely is a scam.
   
"Guaranteed rate of return," four words to listen for when looking for an investment so you can run the other way.
             
As for Gallado, he was convicted and sentenced to 5 years is prison and to pay almost 900,000 dollars in restitution.
            
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