2 Lowcountry residents lose thousands in scheme

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is investigating complaints of possible financial fraud that left two Hilton Head Island residents out of thousands of dollars.

A 76-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man reported separate incidents each involving personal investments they made with Heritage Deposit Brokers.

The victims told the sheriff's office they received phone calls and literature through the mail from the company that says it's based in Chicago.

Both thought they were investing in unusually high-yield Certificates of Deposit and mailed a series of checks for payment. One victim sent an estimated $500,000 to the firm over a four-year period. The other victim invested more than $100,000.

The woman had requested to withdraw her investments several times. Soon after, she discovered tha the firm's phone number had been disconnected, according to the sheriff's office.

The man who became a victim told authorities he had never received any confirmation of his investments. After several attempts to contact a company representative, he found out that there was no record of his investment at any legitimate financial institution.

No SEC or FDIC certification or endorsement for Heritage Deposit Brokers or any legal documentation lending to its legitimacy has been found, according to the sheriff's office.

The transactions were likely a form of what is commonly referred to as a "Nigerian Scam," where victims send money to get larger amounts in return, according to the sheriff's office.

Recovery of funds lost to these scams is unlikely, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities urge consumers not to give out financial information to an unsolicited source and to be extremely cautious with transactions not made in person.

Anyone who may have contributed funding for investments with Heritage Deposit Brokers to contact Investigator LCpl. W. Contact at 843.255.3424.

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