There are few certainties in life, but this is one of them: If a person offers you a thousand percent return on an investment, you have on your hands a scam. And there's about a thousand percent chance someone will end up in court.
Yet two brothers, Terry Wiese of Little Elm and Scott Wiese of Temecula, California, somehow successfully convinced a group of investors, many of them reportedly parents and employees from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, they would see "extreme" returns on investments in an internet telephone company called Usee, Inc., which they described as a "lifestyle tele-media company," according to SEC filings.
Between September 2009 and December 2010, the brothers raised about $6 million from nearly 80 investors, promising fat returns that never materialized. Then, you guessed it, almost all of the investors in the Little Elm-based company lost out. As of Monday, the brothers became tied up in litigation with the SEC. Two slightly luckier investors made some money from funds provided by other investors.
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Making matters worse, the investors were "their friends and families, nearly half of whom are teachers, staff, and parents of students at a Dallas-area Christian private school where Terry Wiese's wife works," according to the SEC filing, referring to Trinity Christian.
The brothers invested funds with a company called NFY Financial Consulting, which made them similarly overblown promises. According to the SEC, the Wieses "failed to conduct due diligence before opening the NFY Escrow Account; and did nothing to verify the legitimacy, feasibility, or reality of the supposed platform trading they anticipated NFY would undertake on Usee's behalf."
And NFY wasn't on the up-and-up either, according to the SEC. The company and its principals are listed by the SEC as "relief defendants" for recovering funds provided them by the Wieses. The SEC suit requests permanent injunction relief and repayment of the nearly $6 million invested in Usee, plus interest, along with a $150,000 penalty for each brother.