Elder Financial Fraud
Elder financial abuse is on the rise and is expected to impact an increasing number of families across America over the next decade. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) have all issued special alerts and other warnings about how elder investors can try to avoid being victims of investment fraud.
State of Florida Statute 825.103 is designed to punish perpetrators of “elder financial fraud” and protect the exploitation of elderly persons. A financial advisor or other person engages in elder financial fraud if he/she:
- Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, deprive the victim of use or benefit of personal funds;
- By an individual who know or reasonably should know that elderly person lacks capacity to consent; and
- Breach of fiduciary duty to an elderly person which results in an unauthorized appropriation.
Elder financial abuse is on the rise including claims against financial advisors who offer “free” lunch seminars, use misleading professional designations, and peddle purposefully complex products which many seniors (and others) cannot understand. Regulators highlight that scammers count on the victims’ silence to keep their activities ongoing.
Among other matters, our lawyers’ represented several dozen elderly investors to recover several million dollars they had lost in investment scams. The SEC ultimately charged the broker in that scam with fraud for preying on elderly members of his own community. Managing Partner, Scott L. Silver of the Silver Law Group was honored with the Daily Business Review’s “Securities Litigator of the Year Award” (2009) for his work on the case.
Elderly investors are frequently targeted for investment/securities fraud, including Ponzi schemes. Many financial advisors give the appearance of legitimacy by the promoter of an investment/security through various methods to unwary or unsophisticated investors. Targeted investors include members of a group or organization (affinity fraud) or individual with little investment experience. Common red flags of an investment or securities fraud include:
- Financial Advisor Recommending Early Retirement Plans
- Guarantees of Principal and Interest;
- Unregistered Investments;
- Fictitious Custodian of Funds;
- Difficult to Understand Investments;
- Senior Advisor Designations Without Any Credentials or Licenses;
- Advisor Insists “His Family Members” Invested;
- Contact by Phone or Email By Stranger; and
- Sense of Urgency From Advisor.
Silver Law Group has pursued claims in FINRA arbitrations and in federal court for violations of various states’ laws against elder abuse. We are also frequently sought by trust estate lawyers and in probate matters to investigate and potentially pursue claims for investment fraud cases. Our lawyers won more than $1 million for an elderly client scammed by a stockbroker in a FINRA arbitration claim award believed to be one of the first successful cases under Florida Elder Abuse Statutes.
Silver Law Group’s attorneys are frequent lecturers at retirement communities, town meetings, pension groups, and other places and discuss with those audiences proactive measures to avoid being victims of investment fraud. We would be happy to speak to your group, free of charge, about what the members of the group can do to protect themselves from investment fraud. We never charge for a consultation and are happy to talk privately with someone about their personal financial situation.