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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Affinity Fraud Alert

Updated: Wednesday, November 27 2013, 04:33 PM EST




CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Some people call her the Bernie Madoff of the Filipino
community. In the U.S. she allegedly ran off with a million dollars in a ponzi
scheme that targeted her fellow countrymen.

Local 12 TroubleShooter
Howard Ain says con artists often succeed in scamming communities of which they
are a member.

It's called affinity fraud and it occurs when scammers
prey upon members of identifiable groups. It could be the elderly, or members of
religious or ethnic communities. Razel Canedo targeted Filipino investors in a
scam she pitched as helping fellow Filipinos.

Greg Ghiozzi, U.S. Postal
Inspector: "Typically, she would give a victim a pitch about bringing Filipino
nurses to the U.S. Once she gave the pitch, many of her potential victims would
invest with her."

Canedo sold promissory notes offering a return of up
to 50 percent. Investors said they wanted to help fellow Filipinos come to
America and create better lives for themselves.

Ghiozzi: "They tended to
trust her, because she was another Filipino."

Once investors realized
they were not getting checks, Canedo went into hiding.

Ghiozzi: "The
victims couldn't find her. They would call her, wait outside her residence. She
fell off the face of the earth."

So, inspectors started tracking the
money.

Ghiozzi: "We do know she was building a giant house in the
Philippines. Some money was going to her relatives. One thing we are sure of is
it didn't go to bring nurses coming over to the U.S."

Inspectors
eventually arrested Canedo, but said the impact on investors was heartbreaking.


Ghiozzi: "It really affected a lot of people's lives. They gave her
their life savings. They were very angry that someone in their community would
have violated their trust, so aside from the financial impact it also had a
strong emotional impact on them as well."

Canedo was charged with mail
fraud and wire fraud. She pleaded guilty and is still awaiting sentencing. So
remember, don't trust someone just because he or she is part of your community.
When it comes to investing your money, always do your due diligence no matter
with whom you're dealing. Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Affinity Fraud Alert


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