American Greed Episode 15: Driven By Greed | Conned in the Caribbean

Case File

Case 1: Driven By Greed

  • Best Friends
  • James Nichols and Robert Gomez are friends. They work security together at a local office complex and dream of finding the fast track out of their poor L.A. County neighborhood. A lucrative opportunity emerges.
  • Miracle Car Club
  • Gomez claims he's the sole heir to a $411 million estate left by his adoptive father who wants to donate his assets to Christian people. The plan is simple. For $1,000 you can buy one of the estate's cars. Sounds like a steal. The faithful believe.
  • The Scam
  • Thousands of buyers, many from churches around the country, send their hard-earned cash to Nichols and Gomez. During the next four years, they take in more than $21 million! It's a story of American Greed.

Case 2: Conned in the Caribbean

  • An Offer Too Good To Be True
  • The First Int'l Bank of Grenada offers certificates of deposits with annual returns of more than 250%! Thousands buy into the plan. But, there's a catch...FIBG isn't worth the paper its shiny brochures are printed on.
  • The Mastermind
  • Con artist Van Brink and others used FIBG investor money as their personal piggy-bank account, buying luxury cars, expensive homes, private Learjet trips, an organic tomato farm and a yacht named "Off Shore Funs".
  • The Scam
  • FIBG's guaranteed high rates of return are nothing more than a fantasy. Investors lose more than $170 million. The FIBG con was the biggest Ponzi scheme in Oregon history.

Web Extras

  • Driven by Greed: American Greed 15 Case 1 Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 | 11:54 AM ET
    Robert Gomez

    It's called the "Miracle Car Club." Two young men take investors for a ride to the tune of more than $21 million. American Greed profiles one of the largest car scams in U.S. history!

  • The Scam Wednesday, 12 Mar 2008 | 12:00 AM ET
    The Scam

    See more from the Miracle Cars event.

  • Conned in the Carribean Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012 | 2:13 PM ET
    Conman Van Brink

    It sounds too good to be true. An offshore bank promises astronomical returns to investors...100% guaranteed. But, the bank is a sham and investors lose more than $170 million!

  • The Money Wednesday, 12 Mar 2008 | 12:00 AM ET
    The Money

    Hear how Van Brink and his cohorts squandered investorsâ?? money.

  • Protecting Yourself Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 | 3:39 PM ET

    Ten misconceptions about offshore banking.

  • Phone Assets Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 | 3:39 PM ET

    Check out a list of FIBG's phony assets.