PHOENIX – What happened to their nest egg? That's what two Valley couples want to know after handing money over to a real estate agent.
They handed over quite a bit of money. The goal was simple: Invest the money in some Hawaiian property and turn a profit but they say the man they gave their money to eventually vanished.
Dan and Jody Johnson say they like to vacation. "Hawaii has always been a place we want to go, but haven't yet.”
Now that they are approaching retirement, they said they wanted to start making plans.
"We thought about investing in Hawaii for retirement purposes and paying off our home."
That's when they say a man by the name of Phil Stonich approached them with what seemed to be a great investment opportunity. “He was doing some duplexes in Hawaii and presented us with an opportunity to invest a minimum of $25,000.”
The Johnson's say they handed over not only $25,000 but $35,000 because they say it seemed like a pretty solid deal.
“Guaranteed 10 percent return up to 100 percent return, average turn-around time was 12 to 18 months. So we invested money.”
That was five years ago and now they said they can't find or get a hold of Phil Stonich.
“The last phone call I had with Phil Stonich he told me himself, the property he sold for $1.4 million,” says Dan.
If the property sold, the Johnsons say they wanted their investment, plus the profit made from the sale but they claim they never received a dime, not even their initial $35,000.
They're not the only ones, Neil and Linda Nash tell 3 On Your Side they invested $25,000 of their retirement money in the Hawaiian property and even though they claim the property sold, they received nothing.
Now victims all complain that they can't seem to find Stonich anymore. It's like he's disappeared but apparently he's still in business.
In fact, he's operating under a new business called Young Guns Realty. It specializes in rural property in north Scottsdale.
Young Guns Realty has actually been around for a few years so 3 On Your Side went to Young Gun's listed address, but found nothing more than a drop box at a UPS store.
Although we couldn't find him, he is on the Internet. We eventually got a hold of Stonich on the phone where he acknowledged taking money and investing it into Hawaiian real estate.
He also acknowledged not paying any of the investors due to bankruptcy. The Nash’s’ and the Johnsons' say they're not buying it and wonder if they'll ever see their money.
"I can't pay off my house. I was going to retire here this next month, now I can't retire. I've got to keep working. So, he's cut us pretty deep"
Stonich says he intends on paying his investors but the Nash’s' and Johnsons' say it's been years and won't hold their breath waiting for that money.