Man takes out loan to invest in fraudulent start-up business

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Investing is risky, but it comes with promises of reward, which is why many think it's worth it. One man thought his plan was foolproof, but now, he feels like a fool!

"If the guy is good, you have a good investment. If he's bad, you have a problem," fraud victim Wayne King said.

Unfortunately for King, he had a big problem.

The real estate developer decided to take out a loan for $400,000 to invest in a start-up powder coating business.

"Mr. King thought it sounded like a great opportunity," U.S. Postal Inspector Tammy Mayle said.

Powder coating is the process of coating metal with paint in a powder form that is considered more friendly for the environment. The con-men told King the bank was also lending them $1 million to get the business off the ground.

"So Mr. King thought if the bank and the SBA is backing the loan, I should be able to give $400,000 and be fine," Mayle said.

However, nothing was fine. As it turned out, the con-men lied on their bank application.

"I did due diligence on myself, but the bank authorizing this didn't do due diligence on this guy," King said.

While King was being strung along by excuses and delays, postal inspectors found out the business was never operational.

"There was never one job produced out of the business. Both suspects used their money to live off of, to pay personal debt, to pay all of their expenses and within nine months, the money was gone and filed for bankruptcy," Mayle said.

"You should know the people you are dealing with and find out what their personal finances are," King said.

Inspectors say King's life has been turned upside down.

"He was devastated. This was his livelihood, his retirement. He is 73 years old, and he still works eight to 10 hours a day to repay this loan," Mayle said.

The suspects in this case were convicted on bank fraud and ordered to pay restitution -- but usually in cases like this, the victim never gets the money back.