Hawaii residents whose financial lives were turned upside down by convicted scam artist Perry Griggs tearfully spoke at his sentencing at US District Court in Honolulu Monday.
“I came here just to have closure. That’s why I came,” Nanifay Paglinawan, fraud victim, said. “I didn’t want to keep hanging on to the pain, the resentment and the anger.”
Perry Griggs, 50, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme that netted an estimated $4 million. His 17 victims took out mortgage loans, or liquidated their retirement and personal savings to invest.
“I’m a hard-working person,” Paglinawan said through tears. “I worked all my life. We had our children. We really believed him.”
FBI agents say Griggs was serving time in a Las Vegas prison for a similar crime, when he managed to convince his fellow inmates and their families to invest money in a non-existent company called “Aloha Trading.”
“Mr. Griggs befriended a lot of these Hawaii inmates and convinced them that he was this investment guru who could make money in commodities trading and produce massive rates of return,” Tom Simon, FBI special agent, said.
Griggs’ wife, Rachelle, also pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing.