Claim alleges American investors lost billions to fraudulent Chinese companies

10News learned that a lawsuit has been filed in San Diego, alleging a scam linked to businesses in China.

Investigators say some of these businesses are frauds and cost American investors billions of dollars.

During an industrial boom in China a few years ago, many American investors wanted to get in and ride the rocket. Some  have done well, but for many, the ride fizzled.

ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross reported that investors' lawsuit presents time lapse photos taken at one of the plants that was supposedly operating at maximum capacity. The photos, according to Ross, showed scant activity and no tanker trucks to carry the fuel to market.

In an interview, Ross spoke with John Carnes, the man who made the video.

"I filmed about four months and during that period I found that they produced, essentially nothing," Carnes said.

Ross then said, "There was a bee-hive of activity on one day, the day American investors came for a tour."

On that day, Carnes said, "for the first time in four months we see tanker trucks show up."

Ross asked, "But once the investors were gone, so too were the tanker trucks?"

"Just as dead as before," said Carnes.

"So this was a complete con job?" Ross asked.

"Exactly," said Carnes.

Ross said that the company denied any fraud, but later acknowledged there were problems at the factory.

According to Ross, both NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange were eager to cash in on China's (industrial) boom. They recruited Chinese companies aggressively, but they did not do a rigorous job of checking their financials, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told ABC.

The Chinese companies were publicly traded, but as of Thursday, more than 100 were delisted.

Ross said that Chinese authorities have refused to cooperate with the U. S. in going after the accused scammers or trying to get back the money American investors lost.

A number of lawsuits have been filed, including one in San Diego against China Integrated Energy, which was featured in Carne's video.

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