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Articles Posted in Elder Fraud

The recent case of Beverly Schottenstein Vs. JP Morgan and the Schottenstein Brothers was a very strong reminder of the problem of elder abuse. Specifically, financial abuse among elderly people who, in some cases, may not understand they’ve been defrauded.  While Ms. Schottenstein knew her grandsons were defrauding her, she was able to get justice (and a financial settlement) in her case. Other elders that don’t have as much money or realize they are being defrauded may not be as fortunate.  Financial institutions now have the opportunity to stop a case of elder financial fraud before it happens.  Elder Financial Fraud By The Numbers  The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC) in their Elder Fraud Report for 2020, reports that more than 105,000 victims over the age of 60 lost $1 billion dollars through various schemes just last year. These scams can include:  Extortion Non-payment/non-delivery (more prevalent since the increase of online ordering during the pandemic) Tech support (i.e., “I’m calling from Microsoft about the virus on your computer”) Identity TheftThe recent case of Beverly Schottenstein Vs. JP Morgan and the Schottenstein Brothers was a very strong reminder of the problem of elder abuse. Specifically, financial abuse among elderly people who, in some cases, may not understand they’ve been defrauded.

While Ms. Schottenstein knew her grandsons were defrauding her, she was able to get justice (and a financial settlement) in her case. Other elders that don’t have as much money or realize they are being defrauded may not be as fortunate. Continue reading ›

Jimmie Summers (Jimmie Darrel Summers CRD#: 1467286, aka, Jim Summers, Jimmy Daryl Summers, Jimmy Summers) is a former registered broker and investment advisor. His last known employer was Waddell & Reed (CRD#:866) of Tulsa, OK. Previous employers include Cetera Investment Services LLC (CRD#:15340), also of Tulsa, Bok Financial Securities, Inc. (CRD#:17530) of Sand Springs, OK, and Invest Financial Corporation (CRD#:12984) of Appleton, WI.  He has been in the industry since 1986.  FINRA began an investigation after it received a telephone call to its Securities Helpline for Seniors. While employed with Cetera Investment Services, Summers accepted “multiple appointments and designations from one of the firm’s elderly clients.” The client, age 82, made Summers a:  Successor trustee of his living trust, allowing Summers to receive 90% of the assets upon this customer’s death Personal representative of the customer’s estate in the will Sole beneficiary for an annuity Agent with power of attorney and medical power of attorney (Summers never used these POAs, and is no longer an agent)  Cetera’s firm policies prohibited brokers and investment advisors from being named as a trustee, co-trustee, successor trustee, or executor for a firm customer, or from having power of attorney for a firm customer, or beneficiary in any capacity, unless the customer was also an immediate family member.Jimmie Summers (Jimmie Darrel Summers CRD#: 1467286, aka, Jim Summers, Jimmy Daryl Summers, Jimmy Summers) is a former registered broker and investment advisor. His last known employer was Waddell & Reed (CRD#:866) of Tulsa, OK. Previous employers include Cetera Investment Services LLC (CRD#:15340), also of Tulsa, Bok Financial Securities, Inc. (CRD#:17530) of Sand Springs, OK, and Invest Financial Corporation (CRD#:12984) of Appleton, WI.  He has been in the industry since 1986. Continue reading ›

Trusts can be a significant part of your estate plan. Some investors may decide to transfer securities into a trust, or leave them as part of their estate to their beneficiaries.  Assets that are transferred into a trust is taken out of the estate for the probate process. The expectation is that the beneficiaries will later have the benefit of the investments after the original owner passes in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.  Occasionally, a person will also select a stockbroker or other financial services person to serve as a trustee. A trustee and/or executor are supposed to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. However, this isn’t always the case.  The Trustee  A fund’s trustee has the job of overseeing the funds in the trust, and keeping extensive records of all funds coming in and payments going out. This is in addition to preparing tax returns for the trust.Trusts can be a significant part of your estate plan. Some investors may decide to transfer securities into a trust, or leave them as part of their estate to their beneficiaries.

Assets that are transferred into a trust are taken out of the estate for the probate process. The expectation is that the beneficiaries will later have the benefit of the investments after the original owner passes in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. Continue reading ›

Most stockbrokers and other financial service representatives genuinely care about their clients. Unfortunately, there are some in the mix who see an elderly client as a target-rich environment, and the abuse frequently isn’t detected until it’s too late. They take advantage of a client who may not completely understand what’s being discussed or what they may be signing. Financial abuse of the elderly is the biggest form of elder abuse, and it’s getting bigger. An estimated $2.9 billion is stolen every year from elders. Our attorneys work with victims to recover losses from financial advisors, trustees and family members who engage in misconduct. Most people believe that only wealthier seniors are targeted for elder financial fraud, but any senior can be targeted. Elders who are not financially well off can lose everything. Unfortunately, our lawyers have handled cases involving massive losses that steal a person’s senior years. This is a growing problem that is only expected to get worse as the “baby boomer” generation gets older.Most stockbrokers and other financial service representatives genuinely care about their clients. Unfortunately, there are some in the mix who see an elderly client as a target-rich environment, and the abuse frequently isn’t detected until it’s too late. They take advantage of a client who may not completely understand what’s being discussed or what they may be signing. Continue reading ›

In our Silver Law securities arbitration and investment arbitration blogs, we highlight individuals who were caught taking financial advantage of their investment clients. In many cases, the investors are elderly, and sometimes, inexperienced at investing. And in some cases, the brokers and advisors are elderly themselves, caught committing fraud after a successful decades-long career. These individuals should understand what constitutes fraud, particularly against elderly clients. Still, they do it anyway. Many times, these elderly clients do not completely understand the complex investment information they are presented with. Some may be too polite to ask questions or challenge the representative. In other cases, they may be experiencing the beginnings of cognitive decline that isn’t  obvious and hasn’t yet been detected by family or their physician. This lapse in mental acuity can allow a fast-talking broker to convince them of something to which they would otherwise say “no.” The Increasing Elderly Demographic Although California has the largest number of elderly citizens, Florida has the highest percentage of elderly residents in the US. A full 19% of Florida’s population is over 65, and the numbers are increasing. It’s estimated that by 2050, elderly people in the US will top 80 million. Many of these elderly are financially well-off, and some are millionaires. A number of them will pass along their wealth to their children and grandchildren. These sums may be transferred more than once through parentage. So it’s highly likely that these elders can and will be targeted for fraud by any number of people. From distant family members who are suddenly friendly to caretakers, neighbors, brokers and financial advisors, and “new friends,” they all see an elderly person with money as an easy target.  In our Silver Law securities arbitration and investment arbitration blogs, we highlight individuals who were caught taking financial advantage of their investment clients. In many cases, the investors are elderly, and sometimes, inexperienced at investing. And in some cases, the brokers and advisors are elderly themselves, caught committing fraud after a successful decades-long career. These individuals should understand what constitutes fraud, particularly against elderly clients. Still, they do it anyway. Continue reading ›

It’s a story we’ve heard repeatedly: an elderly individual has been fleeced out of a large sum of money. In many cases, it was all the money they had, and don’t have a clue on how to get it back.  Americans over the age of 65 are 15% of the general population and hold a considerable amount of wealth. Many elders are particularly trusting of people when they shouldn’t be. Because they mistakenly trust someone that took advantage of them, they may be too embarrassed to speak up or press charges. In many cases, the victim is dependent on the abuser for their everyday needs, such as a relative or hired caretaker.  Some elders have pensions and investments to pay their expenses, whereas others have on Social Security as their only source of their income. Fraudsters pay no attention to income source or level.  In short, the answer is: yes. But that doesn’t mean elder financial fraud is being ignored.It’s a story we’ve heard repeatedly: an elderly individual has been fleeced out of a large sum of money. In many cases, it was all the money they had, and don’t have a clue on how to get it back.

Americans over the age of 65 are 15% of the general population and hold a considerable amount of wealth. Many elders are particularly trusting of people when they shouldn’t be. Continue reading ›

The US Justice Department today announced the conviction and sentencing of two former employees of SunTrust Bank who pled guilty to financial exploitation of an elderly person. Former SunTrust bankers Rashad Liverpool, 28, and Robert Tillery, 45, were each sentenced on March 5 after conviction of financial exploitation of an elderly person, in violation of Title 22, D.C. Code, Section 933.01(a)(3). The victim, a 72-year old military widow and bank client, had diminished capacities. During the summer of 2018, both Liverpool and Tillery paid frequent visits to the victim after normal business hours. This was a clear violation of SunBank’s policies. Elder financial abuse is on the rise. Florida is home to many seniors and others on a fixed income. Stockbrokers, financial advisors and other professionals frequently have insight into their clients financials and earn their trust. However, a fiduciary should never borrow, take or steal money from their clients. Our attorneys represent investors whose funds are improperly taken by their advisors or are the victim of financial elder abuse.The US Justice Department today announced the conviction and sentencing of two former employees of SunTrust Bank who pled guilty to financial exploitation of an elderly person.

Former SunTrust bankers Rashad Liverpool, 28, and Robert Tillery, 45, were each sentenced on March 5 after conviction of financial exploitation of an elderly person, in violation of Title 22, D.C. Code, Section 933.01(a)(3). Continue reading ›

Cynthia Cowden (Cynthia Diane Cowden CRD#: 2054676) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer was NPB Financial Group, LLC (CRD#:137743) of Lake Isabella, CA. Her previous employers include Tricor Financial, LLC (CRD#:142518) and Next Financial Group, Inc. (CRD#:46214), also of Lake Isabella, and Advantage Capital Corporation (CRD#:146) of Atlanta, GA. She has been in the industry since 1990. A client dispute filed on 1/29/2020 alleged that Cowden committed:  Negligence, suitability, negligent misrepresentation and omission; intentional misrepresentation and omission; fraud; violation of California securities laws. Control person liability; breach of fiduciary duty; failure to supervise; unsuitability; over concentration, breach of FINRA rules; breach of contract; loss of investment opportunity; and financial elder abuse. The client requested damages of $80,589.00, and the firm settled the claim for $57,000. FINRA responded to complaints from their Senior Helpline from a married couple and a single investor regarding the unsuitable recommendations they received from Cowden. From August 2016 through December 2017, Cowden recommended very high-risk investments to them. All three lived in California, and were inexperienced investors.Cynthia Cowden (Cynthia Diane Cowden CRD#: 2054676) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer was NPB Financial Group, LLC (CRD#:137743) of Lake Isabella, CA. Her previous employers include Tricor Financial, LLC (CRD#:142518) and Next Financial Group, Inc. (CRD#:46214), also of Lake Isabella, and Advantage Capital Corporation (CRD#:146) of Atlanta, GA. She has been in the industry since 1990. Continue reading ›

Roger Duval (Roger Allen Duval CRD#: 2503718) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer was Pruco Securities, LLC. (CRD#:5685) of Bellevue, WA.  His previous employers include MML Investors Services, LLC (CRD#:10409) and MSI Financial Services, Inc. (CRD#:14251) both of Spokane, WA, and Allstate Financial Services, LLC (CRD#:18272) of Liberty Lake, WA.  He has been in the industry since 1994. Duval is the subject of nine disclosures. A recent client dispute filed on 9/11/2020 alleges that Duval borrowed an unspecified amount of money in March of 2018, and has failed to pay it back. Beginning in January of 2019, Duval made “unspecified unsuitable recommendations,” and began making unauthorized transfers away from the firm without the knowledge and consent of the client. This case is currently “pending,” and no requested damages are noted. On 3/2/2020, a different client dispute alleges that Duval misappropriated funds, and failed to fully disclose facts regarding the client’s investment objective. This claim was denied. No further information is available.Roger Duval (Roger Allen Duval CRD#: 2503718) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer was Pruco Securities, LLC. (CRD#:5685) of Bellevue, WA.  His previous employers include MML Investors Services, LLC (CRD#:10409) and MSI Financial Services, Inc. (CRD#:14251) both of Spokane, WA, and Allstate Financial Services, LLC (CRD#:18272) of Liberty Lake, WA.  He has been in the industry since 1994. Continue reading ›

Scott Silver, managing partner of Silver Law Group, has sent letters to Florida’s U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, expressing support for, and asking the senators to support, the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims Of Fraud Compensation Act of 2020 (Edith’s Bill).  Edith’s Bill would provide a recovery pool for elderly investors who have been defrauded. Provisions in the bill would amend the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 so that seniors victimized by financial fraud would be eligible for reimbursement from the Crimes Victim Fund.Scott Silver, managing partner of Silver Law Group, has sent letters to Florida’s U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, expressing support for, and asking the senators to support, the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims Of Fraud Compensation Act of 2020 (Edith’s Bill).

Edith’s Bill would provide a recovery pool for elderly investors who have been defrauded. Provisions in the bill would amend the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 so that seniors victimized by financial fraud would be eligible for reimbursement from the Crimes Victim Fund. Continue reading ›

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