WSVN — They say they lost big money in what the feds call a massive Ponzi scheme. Now, investors have come together hoping for one thing: payback. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.

This Jupiter warehouse held the hopes and dreams of investors nationwide.

They believed these “virtual concierge” machines were going to be money makers.

The pitch? Buy a machine that would be set up in a hotel or restaurant for users to make reservations or get coupons. Owners would make money from advertisements shown on the screen.

Linda: “My total life went down the drain, everything that I worked for.”

Instead, as 7News first reported, the machines are at the center of what authorities describe as a $70 million Ponzi scheme based out of South Florida.

Eric Bustillo, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: “Like in any other Ponzi scheme, eventually it collapsed and many investors basically end up getting defrauded as they were here.”

Linda says she and her son invested $650,000.

Linda: “We sold condos, we sold all our stocks and bonds. I had $119,000 in stocks myself, and my son had $84,000.”

She and other investors are now meeting with the man who is trying to get their money back.

James Sallah: “It’s horrific as you could imagine.”

James Sallah was appointed by the court to find out if any of the money can be recovered for investors.

He says people nationwide bought almost 26,000 machines but less than 100 were ever installed and operational.

James Sallah: “I’ve talked to a single mom who had to go back to work with two kids and what little she had, she invested in this. And I’ve talked to retirees who this was a portion of their nest egg. These were retirement funds.”

Police say these are the people behind the Ponzi scheme– Joseph and Laura Signore of Palm Beach Gardens and Paul Schumack of Coconut Creek who are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering.

James Sallah: “Mrs. Signore’s office and Mr. Signore’s office.”

Sallah wants to sell whatever they own– from office equipment, to a boat, even their homes. The profits would be used to help payback investors.

Charles Brown, Investor: “I think the feelings of, ‘Perhaps we were a little greedy’ and that’s probably what’s happening to us now because we thought we could make money. We’re not eating hot dogs every day, just every other day now.”

Carmel Cafiero: “It’s a rare show of humor in a case where the amount of money lost is no laughing matter. Carmel Cafiero, 7News.”

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