Victims Share Their Stories At Investment Fraud Conference - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Victims Share Their Stories At Investment Fraud Conference

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Department of Justice said investment fraud has become a huge problem during the recession.

Cary Martin said she considers herself an intelligent person who had her trust violated. Martin's former neighbor and friend, Aaron Vallett, was also a licensed financial advisor.

"We were great friends," she said Thursday. "He was always willing to explain things to me and put it on the low shelf so that I could understand."

She invested and was even with a brokerage firm until the height of the recession when Vallett proposed something a little less risky.

"Aaron suggested to me that I take the money out of the market and put it in a very what he thought, and I believed to be, a very safe basic cash account," she said.

Prosecutors said Vallett took Martin's money along with more than 30 others and used it for personal and business expenses. Tuesday he was sentenced to ten years in federal prison and ordered to repay $5.4 million.

"There's no parole in the federal system so if you're caught running a Ponzi scheme or fraudulent activity you can expect to be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and you can expect to get a long, federal prison sentence," said Jerry Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Martin, along with other victims, chose to tell their stories Thursday at the Investor Fraud Summit hosted by the Department of Justice at Vanderbilt's Law School.

She said she will recover fiscally, but the emotional toll has been so much more. Martin spoke out, hoping her story would help other victims to reach out for help.

The Department of Justice is also holding other summits around the country in the coming weeks.

Resources for potential fraud victims: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/contact/report-fraud.html

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
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