It feels good to help someone else. It just does. So when a cancer survivor asked people to help others, those people didn't think twice. Too bad the cancer survivor wasn't really ever sick-- and was really after their money.
Postal inspectors say Lizette Morice lured victims into her ponzi scheme by claiming to be a leukemia survivor on a mission to help others. U.S. Postal Inspector Carol Balke said she tried to persuade people to donate, "She was sickly… she had leukemia… and she is now looking to pay it forward and help people. "
But - Morice never had leukemia. Balke said, "Her explanation was that she had this strong entrepreneurial background – she had a changed life and she was looking to turn it around and help people. And apparently she was very convincing."
Once Morice had investors' attention, she told them all they needed to do to get involved was contribute $1,000.
Morice claimed $1,000 would buy investors a percentage of a piece of real estate. She would find the properties, pay the back taxes owed, and then sell the house at market value. All investors would share in the profits.
Blake said, "It was a story of huge returns for $1,000.00. That should raise your antenna right there…[...] They recruited over 3,000 people in 15 months for $7 million."
Inspectors say consumers need to be wary of any deal promising huge returns on a small investment.
Balke said, "Be skeptical and get advice from people who have more knowledge of financial affairs."
Police arrested Morice and she's serving a 10 year sentence in prison.