New statistics show that elder financial exploitation is getting more common
One of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population is baby boomers, with about 10,000 of them turning 65 every day. Unfortunately, the elderly are also some of the most vulnerable members of society, especially where their finances are concerned.
According to a recent study from the state of New York, every year around five million older Americans are financially exploited. Another study – this one from MetLife – found that the annual losses suffered by seniors from elder financial exploitation total almost $3 billion. Perhaps most troubling of all is that elder financial fraud is often not reported.
Although this exploitation is frequently perpetrated by a family member, friend, or caretaker, in many cases it is a financial professional who is responsible. In fact, a survey of advisors showed that 39 percent said their fellow brokers and money managers were to blame for such abuse, and there are many examples of potential cases of elder fraud.
- • In August of 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) lodged a complaint against Hank Mark Werner, reporting that the broker made excessive trades with an elderly client’s account in order to generate extra commissions. Werner is alleged to have churned the account for more than $243,000 in fees for himself, resulting in a $184,000 loss for his client.
- • Broker Brian Sak allegedly convinced an elderly client to invest in Sak’s own real estate deal, which he reportedly hid from his member firm. FINRA permanently banned Sak from acting as a broker in December of 2016.
- • FINRA barred Anthony Mastroianni for allegedly borrowing funds from an elderly customer and also for making excessive trades.
- • Raul Jacobs admitted to stealing funds from an elderly client and using them for his own personal use, and he’s now no longer allowed to act as a broker.
The list goes on and on. And although it is very difficult to stop unethical advisors from taking advantage of older people, a solution is to take action if and when financial elder abuse is suspected. Investors can do this by first reporting the potential fraud and speaking to an elder financial fraud attorney. In some cases, funds can be recovered through securities arbitration or other legal action.
If you suspect elder financial abuse involving a broker or financial advisor, contact the Silver Law Group. Scott Silver is currently the chairman of the American Trial Lawyers Association, Securities and Financial Fraud Group and routinely represents investors in securities arbitration claims and other forms of legal recourse involving financial elder abuse.
The Silver Law Group is a contingency-based firm, which means we don’t get paid unless you can recover lost money. You may fill out this online form and someone will get back to you quickly.