Anthony Lupas, of Laflin, looked frail and dazed as he left a hearing at the Federal Courthouse in Scranton in May.
When we stopped by his home Wednesday, Lupas didn't answer his door. We wanted to ask him about the latest charges from federal investigators that he duped investors out of $6 million from 2007 to 2011, including 29 counts of mail fraud and two counts of conspiracy.
Attorney Ernie Preate represents 10 of Lupas's alleged victims and said his clients may never see a dime. The money could be long gone. Even investment experts said the money may never be found.
"I know him personally, and I know I was shocked as was everybody who knows him," said Lawrence Hamilton.
Hamilton is an investment adviser with Mid-Atlantic Northeast in Wilkes-Barre. Hamilton said Ponzi schemes, like the one Lupas is accused of running, happen all too often.
"I`m certain that`s going on. I can`t tell you who, but I always think there are going to be a few bad apples out there that are going to do that. Just like people who will rob a liquor store or go to a gas station and drive off without paying," added Hamilton.
Hamilton said there are plenty of legit investors out there and people should follow these tips:
- If the investment sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Make sure your investor is registered with FINRA. (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)
- Always ask to see receipts, statements, and monthly reports.
Anthony Lupas will eventually be arraigned at the Federal Courthouse in Scranton. Right now lawyers for both sides are trying to determine if Lupas is mentally competent to stand trial.