LAS VEGAS - People can quickly get rich in Las Vegas, if luck is on their side. While fortune can strike in casinos, it rarely happens on Craigslist.
Stuart Jones recently discovered that. He says he was seduced by an ad from Asset Investigation and Recovery on Craigslist that cost him thousands of dollars.
The scam is fairly sophisticated. Asset Investigation and Recovery sells the victim an unclaimed property claim. The company finds the owner, and all the victim has to do is tell the owner about the unclaimed property. Once the owner claims that property, the victim takes a percentage.
Asset Investigation and Recovery sold Jones a claim for $5,000, saying it would bring him $30,000 or more.
The only problem is Jones had no rights to the claim, and anyone who has unclaimed property doesn't need to pay money to claim it. Kelli Miller with the Nevada Treasurer's Office Unclaimed Property Division says anyone who has unclaimed property, in any state, can get that money for free.
"We will give you back these funds for free," she said. "Please don't use somebody who is breaking the law to get this to you."
Jones claims he had no idea he was breaking the law and trying to scam others, including a family in Texas.
After he bought the claim from Asset Investigation and Recovery, he traveled to Texas to find the owners and tell them they had $239,000 coming their way.
"I explained everything, and they were excited as they didn't know anything about this money," he said. "They turned out to be very nice people."
He almost ripped off those very nice people. Jones convinced them to sign a contract which gave him 25 percent of the money from their claim.
Thankfully, they didn't pay because, after further investigation, they discovered they weren't the rightful owners of the unclaimed property. When the Nevada Treasurer's Office told Jones that, he says he refused to believe it. Eventually, the realization hit him.
Jones says he bought thousands of dollars in claims and spent more money traveling across the country and looking for the alleged owners.
Like so many victims, he fell for the oldest scam in the book: the get rich quick and easy scheme.
As for the company that sold the claims to Jones, the State of Nevada has opened an investigation into the company.
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, call 8 on Your Side at 702-650-1907.