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Advisors and other trusted professionals have an ethical duty to stop senior financial fraud

Elder financial fraud is an increasingly serious issue in the U.S. As more Americans become seniors – at the rate of about 10,000 a day – new victims across the country are feeling the consequences. This means that whether you’re a financial advisor, accountant, or lawyer with elderly clients, or you simply have older friends or family members, it’s essential to understand the warning signs of senior financial fraud. By doing so, you may be able to help protect the seniors you care about from serious monetary losses as well as the associated emotional damage when someone becomes a victim.

FINRA has made several recent changes in order to help advisors combat senior fraud


Research suggests nearly 40% of American seniors may experience financial abuse

Across the U.S., millions of seniors each year become the victims of fraudulent financial and investment scams. In fact, one recent survey reported that 37% of senior caregivers said their client had been a victim of financial fraud or abuse – and alarmingly, 40% of caregivers surveyed said that their client had been victimized more than once. The perpetrators, many of whom are family members, often take advantage of a senior’s reduced mental capacity in order to persuade or pressure them into making serious financial mistakes.

To fix this problem, a variety of organizations, including state governments and nonprofits like AARP, have started initiatives to expand education for seniors, improve awareness and reporting among financial and healthcare workers, and increase the severity of punishment for those found guilty of elder fraud.


Learn how the organization protects you as an investor

If you have been investing for a while or you follow news about the securities industry, you have probably heard about the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, also known as FINRA. Though not a part of the government, FINRA is given authority by Congress to ensure the “broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly.” FINRA employs more than 3,500 people, but because it is a nonprofit, no taxpayer money is used to keep the organization running.

What does FINRA do?


The SEC guide offers a variety of suggestions to help senior citizens protect their assets from fraud

An estimated 7.3 million American seniors have been victimized by financial or investment fraud, and most experts believe that elder financial fraud is becoming more of an issue as the population ages. Each year, the SEC shuts down and investigates millions of dollars’ worth of investment scams aimed at seniors and other vulnerable groups. That means it’s never been more important to understand the signs of financial abuse, and a new guide published by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy helps seniors do just that. In a nutshell, here’s what it says:

Asking smart questions is key to keeping your portfolio safe


Yes and no. One survey states the proportion of elder financial fraud victims is down, but thieves are choosing more lucrative targets

According to estimates, billions of dollars are stolen from elderly people every year. Whether by financial professionals, caregivers, or even family members, financial elder fraud has been rampant in the U.S. for years.

“Older Americans make attractive targets for financial exploitation because many have accumulated some wealth in the form of retirement savings or home equity,” said Richard Cordray, direction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “They can be isolated and lonely, and some may have impaired physical or mental capacity that makes them especially vulnerable.”


A report from the Florida Bar Journal cites studies indicating elder financial abuse is a growing trend

The number of elderly Americans is growing like never before. Census projections indicate that Americans 65+ will make up more than one-fifth of the U.S. population within 30 years, but despite the increasing numbers of older Americans, as a group, their quality of life has not necessarily kept pace. Improvements in healthcare are keeping people alive for longer, but they can’t always prevent cognitive disorders like dementia, which currently affects 5 million sufferers in the U.S. American family values have also changed – and with the fall of the multigenerational household, many children of older Americans no longer feel as obligated to directly care for them.

That leaves millions of Americans at home and often alone. And for many financial fraudsters, 80+ individuals are prime targets. Elderly individuals, some of whom suffer from dementia, can sometimes be easily convinced to sign checks, turn over sensitive account information, and reveal personal details about savings, investments, and credit cards. With older Americans at risk, how can we protect them?


Raising awareness about the exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults.

It’s an unfortunate fact: senior citizens are common targets for individuals seeking to take advantage of them, especially when it comes to money. As the exploitation of senior citizens and vulnerable adults continues to rise, the New York State Office of Children and Financial Services (OCFS) has taken the lead in researching just how broad-reaching and costly this crime truly is.

In a 2016 press release, OCFS announced the results of its study of the impact of financial crimes against the elderly. The study, titled The New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation, represents the combined efforts of numerous state agencies seeking to raise awareness of elderly financial fraud and aims to aid in preventing continued exploitation.

When you give someone money to invest for you, you expect that they will do what is best for you and your situation. You’re counting on their financial knowledge and experience and that they will make the right decisions. In addition to your hard-earned money, you are giving them your trust.

This is why when that trust is broken, it can be devastating, especially if it hurts you and your family financially. Unfortunately, fraud or mismanagement can and does happen in the financial services industry. In some cases, an overzealous broker or firm may not explicitly mean any harm, but in others, the harm is clearly intentional.

Because any type of investment comes with a certain amount of risk, often investors don’t know that anything improper may have taken place when they’ve lost money. But in some cases, the broker or brokerage firm is at fault and violates financial industry regulations, and all parties should be held responsible.

Unfortunately, some brokers and financial advisors devise ways to charge additional commissions, take unnecessary investment risks, or even defraud their clients. And one of the most egregious varieties of fraud or other improper financial activity involves taking advantage of older individuals, some of whom are not privy to information that is withheld by a financial adviser, and others who may have diminished mental capacity.

Although it’s common in the U.S., elder financial fraud frequently goes unreported. In many cases, this is because the person lacks information, is unaware of their rights, or does not know that there are mechanisms to potentially recover lost funds and hold brokers and financial advisers accountable. It’s also possible that an individual may be unable to travel, or he or she is simply uncomfortable giving too many details over the phone.

The Silver Law Group wants to help. If you have been the victim of elder financial fraud, we will gladly send an attorney to your home to discuss the situation. We’ll go over your options and discuss what steps to take next.


Chicago investment advisor Daniel H. Glick. accused of stealing millions from elderly clients

In late March, the SEC won a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Chicago, Illinois broker Daniel H. Glick. Glick – along with his firm, Financial Management Strategies Inc. – was accused of taking money from elderly clients and utilizing it for personal use, including spending it on a Mercedes. To cover up his actions, he is reported to have then created false account statements that exaggerated investment amounts and overstated the cash available.

The SEC had previously sued Glick, and in late March, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall signed an order freezing his personal assets and those of FMS, along with his other company, Glick Accounting Services Inc.

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