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Florida Elderly Exploitation Act: What You Should Know

The Florida elder exploitation statute was enacted on October 1, 2014. Florida Statute 825.103 is entitled “Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult” (the “Statute”). In Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) arbitration, the statute is often applicable, as evidenced by the FINRA award on March 18, 2016 for the estate of Roy M. Speer.

The portion of the Statute that applies in FINRA arbitration and other securities litigation states that abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult is any intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury to an elderly adult. The statutes even extends abuse to any person who encourages another to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury to an elderly person.

Applying that definition, it is incredibly plausible investment advisors, investment firms and broker-dealers frequently violate the Statute.

FINRA and the Securities Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) have issued numerous reports and regulatory notices to educate the securities industry and bring the issues of elder abuse and exploitation to the forefront. A diminished capacity, over-reliance, and narrower investment objectives all leave senior investors in a more vulnerable position. In fact, FINRA has a website devoted to senior investors where it posts its most recent reports, guidance and other helpful material to help curb the issue.

Unfortunately, despite the depth of the discussions on the issue and guidance from the SEC and FINRA, broker-dealers, advisors and their firms frequently violate elder abuse and exploitation laws directly or fail to establish adequate supervisory systems to monitor it.

Common issues among senior investors are overconcentration in a particular security or industry; frequent, unauthorized trading with no real purpose; and investing in unsuitable securities given the senior investor’s age and investment objectives.

The issue has grown so much in recent years that new rules and amendments to current rules have been enacted. Recently, the SEC has approved the adoption of FINRA Rule 2165 and an amendment to FINRA Rule 4512. The rules allow FINRA members to place temporary holds on disbursements from elder customer accounts where there is a reasonable belief of financial exploitation. The rules also require FINRA members to make reasonable efforts to obtain a trusted contact person for the elder customers’ accounts.

Silver Law Group has and is currently representing elder investors who have lost much of their life savings due to Wall Street greed and disregard of elder abuse and exploitation laws. If you or a loved one has lost money investing due to violation of elder abuse and exploitation laws, you may be able to recover some or all of your losses.

Silver Law Group represents the interests of investors and senior investors who have been the victims of investment fraud. If you have questions about your legal rights, please contact Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group for a free consultation at ssilver@silverlaw.com or toll free at (800) 975-4345.

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