Columbus area TV salesperson, husband, charged with defrauding - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus area TV salesperson, husband, charged with defrauding investors

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Jose Torres (source: Russell County Jail) Jose Torres (source: Russell County Jail)
Tammy Torres (source: Russell County Jail) Tammy Torres (source: Russell County Jail)
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PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

A Phenix City couple is in jail tonight, charged with creating a scheme to defraud investors.  

When you invest your money in a low risk business opportunity, you're expecting that the people running the show are trustworthy, and not going to run off with your hard earned cash.

But investigators from the Alabama state capital said Lee County residents did exactly that.  

The majority of the blame is on Jose Roberto Torres, who is charged with 19 different financial crimes.

His wife, Tammy Torres, was charged with one additional count. Both were arrested by sheriff's deputies at their home on Lee County Rd. 520 late Wednesday night, March 5.  

The two are accused of selling unregistered investment contracts for automated teller machines under the title EPS/ATM Inc.

The plan was for the investors to supply the physical cash paid out from ATMs to customers in gas stations and convenience stores. 

Those ATMs charge a fee for every transaction, and the investors who provided the dollar bills were counting on getting a percentage of that.

Everything was supposed to be backed by the FDIC, but instead of doing what was promised, the Alabama Securities Commission said the Torres family used that money to pay off other investors they were involved with, and the rest, they put in their pocket.  

We did some digging and learned that Tammy Torres is an employee of Channel 38 in Columbus. We contacted a representative from WLTZ who said the station has no comment.

Both defendants remained in the Russell County Jail Friday, March 7, unable to post bond.   They face possible decades in jail if convicted.

The ASC cautions potential investors to thoroughly scrutinize and research investment offers to avoid ending up in this same situation. Free investor education and fraud prevention tips are available at the Alabama Securities Commission web site.

We had many additional questions for investigators in Montgomery, including, How much money is the couple accused of taking?  For what period of time did they allegedly get away with it?  How did they find their investors?  Are the victims big banks or individual people?  State investigators declined to answer any of these questions.

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