So how did it work?
“I`ve followed racing as best I could for a long time,” says an anonymous fraud victim.
An 85-year-old man is embarrassed by the fact that he rode his love of horses right into a scam.
“I thought this would be an opportunity to probably fulfill a childhood dream,” he says.
That dream was to spend time around horses and make a lot of money.
But he was lured in by a con-artist.
“He was very intellectual in his presentation and very persuasive, so I thought that I was dealing with a winner,” he says.
“He would sell a guaranteed winning method at the horse track. Guaranteed or your money back,” says Shari M Delaney, U.S. Postal Inspector.
Postal inspectors say for more than 10 years, the suspect in this case sent out flyers with big promises including making $4,500 a day or $38,000 the first two weeks. They even promised $136,000 in a month by only spending $10 dollars a day.
“The amount of money was outlandish - far-fetched and he just guaranteed he had a method that would pick winners at the track. All of his solicitations would have endorsements. Fake names of people saying they won multitudes of money,” says Delaney.
The whole thing was a scam. Victims were asked to pay anywhere from $50 to $1,500 dollars for the bogus method.
“I was disappointed, somewhat hurt, I felt betrayed,” the victim says.
There were hundreds of victims. Postal inspectors say many still write in asking questions or seeking guidance.
And when investigators tell them they`ve been scammed.
“They frequently ask if they are going to get their money back. That is all they care about is money. Day to day and most of the time I have to tell them no and it just breaks their heart,” says Delaney.
“They should be taught not to steal, not to rob, not to rip off other people. If punishment is necessary then they go through the legal system,” says the fraud victim.
Postal inspectors say the suspect in this case is showing signs of remorse.
“He is now promising to pay back all of his victims, he has written a personal note of apology to all of his victims saying give me a chance to get a legitimate job and I will pay you back,” says Delaney.
Inspectors say the suspect bought online lists of people interested in horse racing and gambling. He would then just do a mass mailing hoping large numbers of people would fall for his pitch.