Eric Jiang, a 29-year-old entrepreneur, is seeking donations to help save his elderly parents’ home after they had fallen victim to an online investment scam.
About the scam: In an interview with NextShark, Jiang shared that his 78-year-old father, Amos, and 73-year-old mother, Yan, fell into what is now being investigated as a nationwide scam that targets victims for high-level investments in an allegedly fictitious company called "UpUp Fashion" in New York City. The retired couple, who reside in Woodbridge, Connecticut, are now worried about not being able to keep their home after losing millions of dollars.
What happened: According to Jiang, the scammers initially contacted his father on Aug. 3, claiming that a friend had suggested him as a potential tour guide or advisor on living in the U.S. Despite Amos' initial denial, they allegedly continued trying to befriend him, leading to conversations on WeChat and Line.
The scammers allegedly introduced the idea of spread trading with cryptocurrency, citing reliable returns. His father, trusting the seemingly legitimate exchange interface the scammers had set up, began investing small amounts. Over several months, Amos continued making investments, believing it was a genuine opportunity.
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Crime unveiled: The scam came to light, Jiang says, when the FBI informed the Woodbridge Police Department about a bank account associated with scamming elderly individuals. Police reached out to potential victims, including Amos, on Nov. 16. He realized the deception after trying to withdraw money.
“The scammers had an entire exchange interface set up so that when he deposited money, he could see his balance and fully interact in the exchange,” Jiang says. “He could see order books and his trades going through. It all looked legitimate, so he started to develop trust that this was real.”
Financial strain: Jiang, who currently lives in Queens, New York, with his fiancée, learned about the situation on Saturday, just while dealing with his own challenges. He said he recently shut down his business, leaving him unemployed and unable to help his parents. He also had to cancel his wedding, which had already been planned and booked for next year.
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About the elderly victims: Jiang believes his father was motivated to find investments to contribute to a house down payment for him and his fiancée and support their wedding. His parents, who moved to the U.S. from China in the 1980s, worked hard throughout their lives. Yan delivered newspapers and worked as a live-in nanny before a long career at a medical devices company. Amos, who has a master's degree in computer science, worked as a computer analyst and developer before retiring during the pandemic.
“They are incredibly supportive of me,” Jiang tells NextShark. “They’ve provided me with all the opportunities, and I was fortunate enough to go to a really good school and pursue my dreams, so I owe everything to them and I just want to be able to save their home.”
Fundraising campaign: Jiang and his fiancée, Jessica Pelaez, have set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $250,000 to help Amos and Yan. The couple has raised more than $53,000 as of this writing.
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“Unfortunately, they lost a significant amount,” Jiang says. “This GoFundMe is just to help them save their home. The amount that we’re raising is to help them pay off the loan that they took out for their home. If we don’t successfully raise this then unfortunately, they’ll be forced to sell their house to pay off that loan.”
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