The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette correct all errors of fact. If you see an error in this article, please call the city desk at 843-706-8139. Corrections and clarifications will appear in this space.
Web sites may link directly to search results and individual articles without permission.
Up to one paragraph of text may be included from an article as long as full attribution is given and the attribution links back to the full article.
To republish more than one paragraph of text, please contact us for permission.
A company that used phone calls and literature to solicit investments might have swindled two Hilton Head Island residents out of more than $600,000, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
A 76-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man reported separate incidents, each involving personal investments made with "Heritage Deposit Brokers" that claimed to be based in Chicago.
Believing they were investing in high-yield certificates of deposit, both mailed a series of checks. The woman invested about $500,000 over four years, and the man sent more than $100,000, according to a news release.
The woman recently attempted to cash out her investments, but her requests for withdrawal were refused. She later found that the phone number had been disconnected.
The man said that despite the company's claims to have sent investment confirmations, he never received them. After repeated failed attempts to contact a representative, he learned there was no record of his investment.
Investigators say they have found no SEC or FDIC certification or endorsement for Heritage Deposit Brokers, nor any legal documentation of its legitimacy.
The Sheriff's Office says the swindle is a form of the "Nigerian scam," which usually asks victims to send money with the promise of a larger future pay-out.
The Sheriff's Office can do little to pursue charges because the culprits usually operate internationally, the release said, and recovery of lost money is unlikely.
Anyone who invested with Heritage Deposit Brokers should call Investigator Lance Cpl. W. Conant at 843-255-3424. It might be necessary to document the incidents to help federal agencies investigate the crimes, the release said.