FRANKLIN COUNTY, WA - Half a million dollars: that's how much two local businessmen are accused of raising and using for their own expenses. They're now facing several charges in a Ponzi scheme affecting at least 11 investors.
According to court documents, this case dates all the way back to 2015 and 2016, when Gabriel Ramos and Miguel Angel Miranda Jr. approached investors with the opportunity to earn profit within one to three months.
Investors were told that their money would be loaned to small businesses that would repay the money by a specific date and that the borrowers would repay an additional return. Investors were given very little information about the borrowers, but according to court documents, Ramos and Miranda made investors believe that the returns were guaranteed and that there was a reserve to repay them if the borrower defaulted the loan.
The scheme began to collapse in 2016 after Ramos was unable to repay investors, claiming that the funds were "in the hands of bad borrowers", causing investors to lose more than $300,000.
Court documents show that Ramos used investor funds to repay prior investors. Ramos also caused HAPO Community Credit Union to lose more than $75,000 in a check-kiting scheme - in one day, Ramos and his wife made several transactions from four different branches as Ramos purchased cashiers checks and received thousands of dollars in cash using bad checks he wrote from an account at Gesa Credit Union.
We were able to reach both Ramos and Miranda, but both chose not to talk at this moment.
This is a developing story.