Widow lost $100,000 to con men

A Ponzi scheme victim from Ponoka who lost $100,000 says her life savings have been wiped out. “My husband passed away and he left that through his insurance to me. I feel like I’ve let him down,” said Val Wagner.

A Ponzi scheme victim from Ponoka who lost $100,000 says her life savings have been wiped out.

“My husband passed away and he left that through his insurance to me. I feel like I’ve let him down,” said Val Wagner.

Her husband Dan died 10 years ago and the education assistant at Ponoka Composite High School said she invested the money to help out her three children and two step-grandchildren. She also wanted to retire early and do some travelling.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do now. That was my future,” said Wagner, 53.

Earlier this week, RCMP laid fraud charges against Milowe Allen Brost, 55, of Chestermere, east of Calgary. His partner in the alleged scam, Gary Allen Sorenson, 66, of Calgary, is believed to be in Honduras.

Police say between 1999 to 2008, the pair took in $100 million to $400 million from as many as 3,000 investors in Canada and the U.S.

Through the scheme, investment money was supposed to flow to different companies and they promised a very high rate of return.

Wagner bought into the investment four years ago after she heard about it from a friend and investment advisor.

“I had one more year to go and I was going to take it out and reinvest.”

She suspected something was wrong in the spring but she was too busy to make any inquiries. She regrets not investigating the venture before she invested.

“I feel so used. I guess nowadays you just can’t trust anybody.”

She hopes coming forward will encourage people to do research before they invest and she wants to let other victims know they are not alone.

Wagner has yet to contact police investigating the scheme.

Police advise anyone who has been a victim of investment fraud, or believe they have been approached with a fraudulent investment, to contact the Alberta Securities Commission at 1-877-355-4488 or their local RCMP detachment.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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