Last September, a longtime Las Vegas journalist named Jeff German was shot and killed. The person charged in his death is a public official German investigated. There were other investigations German hadn’t completed when he was murdered, including one about a Ponzi scheme. Reporter Lizzie Johnson picked up where he left off, reporting a story about a scam that, as scams so often do, enriched a few at the expense of many:

Jager had told Mabeus about the opportunity to make money in August 2019, during a couples trip to Mexico, she said. She felt flattered to be included.

“We were a little nervous, but we trusted him,” Mabeus said. “Because we were friends and belonged to the same church, the red flags were heart-shaped. I was like, ‘Wow. We are really lucky to be involved in this investment.’”

The next month, she and her husband wired over $140,000. Ninety days later, the first interest payment of $18,000 arrived, right on time. The couple continued adding money, until they reached a total of $680,000, she said.

“There was never a hiccup,” Mabeus said. “My bishop was involved and invested, and so were my closest friends. A lot of people were told to keep it quiet.”

When she and her husband, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who worked for a medical device company, divorced in June 2021, Mabeus agreed to take the investment as alimony. She planned to rely on the dividends, along with child support payments, to remain at home with her daughter and three sons. A former elementary school teacher, she hadn’t worked for 13 years.

Now, Mabeus hung up the phone, horrified.

She tried to call Jager. No answer.

“Word is spreading like wildfire,” Mabeus remembered. “People are texting left and right. No one is getting responses.”

Maybe it was all a big misunderstanding, she thought. She told herself that she’d know for sure the next day, when the quarterly interest payment was scheduled to hit her bank account.

But when Friday arrived, the money didn’t. All her savings, Mabeus realized, were gone.