Investment Investigation: Retirees Worry They Will Never Get Money Back

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email
unclaimed money.

unclaimed money.

Only on 11 News--Retirees who gave money to a Grand Junction investment company that is now under investigation are talking about the ordeal.

They say they gave Valley Investments and owner Phillip Lochmiller hundreds of thousands of dollars and now they fear they may never see that money again.

Four people, who spoke only to 11 News, gave valley investments a total of $145,000 for what they thought were pieces of investment property in Mack and other parts of Colorado and Utah but after hearing that the company is accused of fraud, they're wondering if those pieces of paper are worth anything, and if not, how they're going to retire.

Linda Neesham just lost her husband a few years ago and now she thinks she may have lost her life savings.

"That was all I had left," she told 11 News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Neesham heard about Valley Investments and it's claims of 14 to 16 percent profit.

"It sounded really good and looked good on paper."

She put in $10,000, started getting checks every month, and decided to put in another $10,000. Just weeks later, she saw the company on the news and hear about the allegations of fraud.

"I think I just sorta went numb," said Neesham.

She wasn't the only one who trusted Valley Investments with her life savings. Her friend, Richard Kinder, and his parents gave Phillip Lochmiller and Valley Investments $125,000.

"It all looked really above the board to me. Now I'm like, should I have put my money in a coffee can in the backyard?" Kinder told 11 News on Wednesday.

Kinder is a veteran and had been saving his whole life, hoping for a good retirement.

"You get the checks and it was really good and then overnight they're not there anymore," said Kinder.

The Valley Mortgage and Investments office was empty on Wednesday and no calls have been returned to Neesham, Kinder or 11 News since we learned Phillip Lochmiller and his two companies are under investigation by the FBI.

Lochmiller is already facing action by the Colorado Division of Securities for selling unregistered properties and not telling clients about his criminal past.

According to public records, Lochimiller was charged with 30 felonies for selling unqualified securities in San Diego in 1985 and spent three years in prison.

And right now there are a lot more questions than answers for investors and Attorney Kirk Rider, who is trying to help them.

"Nobody knows how much money has actually been invested," Rider told 11 News on Wednesday.

Hey says two of his clients were shocked to learn the notes and deeds they held, held no value.

"They were probably more trusting than they should have been."

But until the investigation is complete, Rider says it's wait and see.

"Individual recourse is going to be iffy."

And he believes some of the people who gave Lochmiller money, may never see it again.

People like the Kinders.

"I guess it's back to beans again, I don't know what to do," Richard Kinder told 11 News.

And Linda Neesham.

"You just don't have a feeling as to where to turn," said Neesham.

Who worry they may have lost everything they've ever worked for.

The FBI is asking for anyone who may have invested with Lochmiller and Valley Investments to give them a call.

They've set up a hotline at (303) 575–7012.

Lochmiller's attorneys did file a response with the Division of Securities denying the allegations.

He has been ordered to appear in court in Denver on june first for a hearing.


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