Firefighters caught in investment scam

May 28, 2008 4:07:28 PM PDT
According to prosecutors, Larry Harris promised 12 Philadelphia firefighters an opportunity to make big money fast. Larry Harris told Action News he too was a victim, but prosecutors say the paper trail proves otherwise.

Harris operated Victoria Capital Funding out of Two Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd. Investigators say he got a relative, who works as Philadelphia paramedic, to offer Philadelphia firefighters the opportunity to invest in his plan to buy foreclosed properties, fix them up, and sell the homes at a profit.

Each firefighter invested a minimum of $2,500 and Harris allegedly promised a return of $15,000 within nine months.

"The problem is the person who was supposed to be making investments for them, never did that. The money went into his company's bank account and only came out to pay his personal bills," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Eventually, prosecutors said Harris told the firefighters that all their money and his own had been invested with another company, Gaddel Enterprises, which was profiled by Action News and shut down by the feds in July 2007.

Prosecutors say, that is not true. That Harris used nearly 28-thousand dollars of the firefighters investment to live in his North Wales home: on shopping, car leases, personal bills, and travel expenses.

"He deceived these victims into thinking he would do something he did not and that's why we've charged him with theft," Ferman said.