Thursday, July 13, 2017

Investors Beware Of Sketchy Advice

Editor's note: Jeff Apel, the author of this article, is a longtime journalist and friend of mine. We both worked together at The Grand Island Independent. He has a passion for horses. He works at a casino.

 By Jeff Apel

Shortly after moving to Lexington, Ky., in 2005, I was at a bar when a man walked by and gave me a thumbs up regarding my Nebraska hat. Turns out, Bill graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School and was a huge Husker fan.

Bill had just moved to Lexington to take a job with the cable company. His wife hadn't made the move yet, so Bill and I hung out together at the racetrack and a bar or two.

Bill and his wife, Sherry, eventually bought a really nice house. One thing about Bill was he never could keep a job very long.

I'd stop by the house every now and then, always afraid to ask what Bill might be doing for income. At one point, an elderly relative parked his RV in the backyard and lived in the house.

When the horse economy tanked in early 2000s, Lexington, as the horse capital of the world, was hit hard. Out of work again, after a 2-year stay selling phone systems, Bill asked if I would be willing to help him write a book about how to run a call center, something he had lots of experience in.

I balked because there was no pay involved.

As time went on, Bill mentioned occasionally that, if things got worse, his wife had an aunt living in Lincoln that they could stay with. I couldn't imagine making such a move so I got bill a job in Carmel, Ind., at a company that a casino friend owned. Sherri was supposed to work there as well.

True to form, Bill took off one day, never showing up again. My friend mentioned that Bill kept asking to see the books, saying something about the bottom line didn't add up. His request was denied.

With their home now in foreclosure, Bill and Sherri did move to Lincoln to live in the basement of a house owned by the aunt and her husband. When they arrived, they posted pictures of themselves on Facebook, saying how glad they were to be back in Lincoln and spending time with the family again.

Someone asked Sherri where they were living. She responded that herself and Bill put their belongs in storage in Kentucky and moved in with the aging aunt and uncle to help out. Sherri said she and Bill generously agreed to live downstairs in the house that the uncle purchased for tax purposes.

Not true at all but it sure sounds good. The uncle has owned the house for years, long before Bill and Sherri moved in along with two dogs and two cats.

Bill sent me an email once, telling my to be careful about my gambling in terms of owning horses because it was a high-risk investment. After laughing, I assured him I had enough money on hand to make such a bet.

Unlike him.

Now I see Bill is offering friends investment advice. One guy sought him out on Facebook, asking him if bonds or stocks were a better investment. Bill has got people buffaloed into thinking he's Warren Buffet II who downsized his life style for the benefit of his in-laws.

Man, if those seeking an expert opinion only knew the financial past of the man they were dealing with. He already declared bankruptcy once in his life so foreclosure was basically his only option.

I still send Bill emails when a horse I co-own makes a few bucks. We talk about living in Nebraska, our days in Lexington and he always promises me a job if I ever want to move back to Lincoln.

Nice guy. Just don't ask him for any financial advice.

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