NEWTON, N.C. -- Victims of an alleged Ponzi investment scheme, which authorities say cost investors $25 million, say they're upset with the state in addition to the alleged mastermind, J.V. Huffman, Jr.
Investigators say Huffman raked in $25 million over 18 years with other people's money heading up Biltmore Financial Group, never invested it as promised and instead used it to fund his lavish lifestyle.
"Everybody I know had been investing with him and getting high returns," said investor Vickie Drum.
Drum sold land and gave her money to Huffman. She was about to give him more when he was arrested.
"I'm going on as if I'll never get it back. I hope that's not the case," she said.
Huffman's relatives say they lost thousands too. They say the state is partly to blame because while it investigated Huffman for nearly a year, people continued to give Huffman money, even days before he was arrested. Court documents say most of that money is gone.
Relatives say if the state suspected it was going on, they should have stopped it earlier.One of Huffman's relatives says he gave Huffman $50,000 just before Huffman was arrested. Now that relative says he won't get that money back.
Paperwork Huffman used to allegedly con investors says he was affiliated with various banks, insured and offered a high rate of return.
We found paperwork where an investor gave Huffman $51,250. Huffman's signature is at the bottom.That investor says the money was for his grandchildren's college education and now it's gone.
In court Monday, Huffman's bond hearing was postponed.
Investors left without answers about him, their money and what happens if they don't get it back.
"I'm not sure, that's all the money I would have," Drum said.
The North Carolina Secretary of State's response to why they didn't shut Huffman down earlier while people continued to give him money: It takes a while to develop cases. It's a reality of police work and is an unfortunate part of it.