Raleigh Business Closed, FBI Investigates
Posted July 17, 2007 9:38 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2007 8:36 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The FBI is asking lots of questions about the Posh Antique store in Raleigh's Five Points neighborhood.
Federal agents suspect it was a front for an investment pyramid scheme. The business opened in March and is now closed.
WRAL talked to two people who initially filed complaints with the Raleigh Police Department. Local police and federal agents are working together.
There are investors locally and in other states who believe their money disappeared.
Several investors told WRAL they had no idea the antique store owner, Patricia Jacoby, had a criminal past.
Mark Cravens, a developer in Tampa, Florida, said he invested nearly $400,000 with Jacoby.
He said she promised a 24 percent profit by marking up merchandise she would buy from estates.
“She was telling us that she was buying estates, antiques and fine art. She would buy the whole estate,” said Cravens.
Cravens said he invested in April, received $50,000 back and then the checks stopped coming.
Jacoby has been in trouble with the law before.
She spent a year and a half in prison for bilking investors in an art scheme after a 2000 conviction in Mecklenburg County.
In 2004 she was arrested in Wake County on similar charges. She pleaded guilty last year and paid $56,000 in restitution to victims. She is currently on probation.
Raleigh attorney Nick Stratas represents two recent, local investors whose money he believes is gone.
“It's just so horrible. ... From what we’ve seen it looks like hundreds of thousands of dollars so far,” said Stratus.
The Florida investor said he was attracted by others who made money.
“Everything seemed good. We talked to a lot of people who received payments for more than a year,” said Cravens.
The FBI confirmed there are potentially dozens of investors involved in this case.
Jacoby was unavailable for comment.
The landlord at Jacoby's Five Points store said he hasn't seen her. When her rent was late this month, he locked the door.