Small business scam: Con artist targets business owners in funding scheme

ATLANTA — He stole millions of dollars by preying on the hopes and dreams of people just trying to make a go of their small business.

"Small business owners would submit a business plan as well as goals. Mr. Tobin promised he had firsthand knowledge on loans," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Martin Glover.

Anthony Tobin owned a company that claimed to help small business owners expand with new funding.

Tobin's company charged for its services.

"The victims were told they had to pay a due diligence fee or a maintenance fee — application fee to help obtain the loan. In actuality, the victim never received any money," Glover said.

The fees were between $2,000 to $100,000 depending on the size of the business.

"They were told, after sending the money, that there was a problem proceeding with the money and other unforeseen difficulties and they were asked to send more due diligence money," said Glover.

Unfortunately, many of the victims sent more money. In the end, 35 victims lost $5 million.

"Many times, the people who are victimized are the people who are falling on hardship as well as elderly individuals who are looking for any way to get by and it seems like these people are most vulnerable to these advanced fee schemes," Glover said.

If you find yourself facing a similar offer, you can protect yourself.

"If you have someone who is pressuring you to send them money to obtain the loan, you need to clarify where you are sending the money," Glover advised.

Anthony Tobin was sentenced to seven years in prison for mail fraud and was ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.