Local man accused of ripping off thousands in life savings from unsuspecting victims

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 17 at 11:15 AM

(KMOV) –A local man is accused of ripping off hard-working people of their retirement savings.

Tom Terry, also known as “Little Bernie” allegedly swindled several families to invest their live savings in FIC, Farmington Investment Incorporation, formerly owned by Terry.

Flyers advertised the rate of return and that customers could demand their investments at any time but when they did, it was gone.

In total, victims were out in excess of $319,000, and the victims range from widows who invested their deceased husband’s life insurance to World War II veterans.

A battle for repayment and justice has been going on for years.

In 2010, The Missouri Secretary of State ordered Terry and his company to cease and desist illegal conduct, stating Terry never provided investors with information about FIC’s financial situation.

In a deposition, Terry states “never at one point would there have been enough money on hand if everybody wanted their money.”

So where did the money go? In 2004, Terry started borrowing money from FIC to start six other businesses, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s petition. Those businesses were funded by FIC and hundreds of thousands in loans weren’t paid back.

He then allegedly told his victims that he was going to file bankruptcy if they planned to sue him.

Terry made good on that promise, at least the first part to file bankruptcy. He listed organizations such as Kids for Christ as a creditor who allegedly invested with FIC to support summer camp programs.

When asked by News 4’s Chris Nagus if he planned to repay these victims, he responded “Pay who back?”

Terry then went on to say he sold the corporation that “lost” these people’s money.  He sold it for $2,000 and according to his deposition, he’s not even sure if the new owner even paid that full amount.

So far, Terry has avoided prosecution and he and his wife still collect a government check, nearly $2,000 a month in disability payments along with income from rental property.

Along with attempting to avoid repaying his victims, Terry is asking the court to wipe out his credit card debt.

According to the secretary of state, Terry never had a license to sell securities in the state of Missouri. 

Linda Black, who represents the Farmington area said, “absolutely he should be prosecuted, there’s a historical record of all the investments he’s lost.” 

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