MANHATTAN, New York (WKRC) – After watching home improvement shows everyone has dreamed about flipping real estate and making big money.
But for one woman that flip turned into fraud and it wound up being a financial disaster. The pitch was strong: invest in the renovation of old apartments in Manhattan then flip them. Investors were told they could double, even triple their money by investing with Abbe Edelman.
The woman gave him a big chunk of money to the tune of $15,000. The woman, who chose not to reveal her identity, said she did her research. First, the apartments he wanted to buy and sell were legitimately on sale online. Second, there were no complaints or suits against Edelman that could be found.
Greg Botti, a US postal inspector, said, “On paper he looked great, but unfortunately, like so many times, it was a lot of lies.”
Postal inspectors said Edelman orchestrated a Ponzi scheme for 8 to 10 years. Thirty victims lost more than $3 million. The victim not only lost her money, she also told her mom about the opportunity.
“She wrote me a $5,000 check, now that does affect my mother. I’m the one who told her about it. So ultimately I feel like I am the one that hurt her.”
Postal inspectors said take the extra time and check everything when investing money. People can always reach out to the State Department of Commerce or Secretary of State and see if that person or the entities they control were registered.
Abbe Edelman pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He has been ordered to pay almost $3 million in restitution.