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Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Program

December 26, 2018

As many of you know, preventing elder financial abuse is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I am delighted to invite you to a program on January 21, 2019 in Chicago on what financial advisors, CPAs, tax preparation professionals, attorneys, and others who work with elders should know about how to protect clients from elder financial abuse. Not only is elder financial abuse devastating to the financial well-being of aging baby boomers, but research shows that it can lead to an early death. But how can we do this without alienating clients?  We will discuss relationship-enhancing  ways to make preventing elder financial abuse an integral part of your practice.

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Cover of US Senate Committee on Aging Report Top Ten Elder Scams

Elder financial abuse is one of top 10 elder scams

March 21, 2018

Top 10 Elder Scams The US Senate Committee on Aging released its report of the top 10 elder scams reported by callers to the Committee’s hotline number. While this is not a scientific methodology, it does give us an idea of some of the scams that folks are reporting. Elder financial abuse makes the list. This is useful information for anyone with a phone, email address, bank account, brokerage account, credit card, … basically anyone.

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Retired and considering annuities? Wait!

January 10, 2018

Beware the substantial risks of buying annuities, particularly when you are older. When you buy an annuity you pay a chunk of money to an insurance company to get payments in the future. Sounds good, but for excessive fees you pay and the fact that you lose access to your money. What if you or a family member has an emergency? Until you are out of the surrender period, you will have to pay substantial penalties to get access to your money.

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Fighting Financial Abuse of Aging Veterans

November 14, 2017

Watch out for scams targeting aging veterans. Unscrupulous financial advisors are recommending high commission investments to aging veterans as a way to gain eligibility for Veterans Administration benefits. According to the VA these schemes do not work. All the aging veteran is left with are unsuitable investments that have to be held for many years.

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What to do if elderly relative has suspicious investments

November 1, 2017

What should you do if you discover that your mother, father, or an elderly relative has inappropriate or suspicious investments? Do not ignore it. As difficult as this situation is for families, it is important to take action to protect our elderly family members before they lose a lifetime of hard-earned savings.

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Reduce elder financial abuse by eliminating mandatory arbitration

October 24, 2017

Eliminating mandatory arbitration would go a long way in reducing elder financial abuse by brokers and financial advisors. The Investor Choice Act would eliminate forced arbitration for investors. While it applies to all investors, elderly investors will get the greatest benefit.

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Elder financial abuse – public health hazard

October 17, 2017

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified elder financial abuse as a public health hazard. The CDC recognizes the profound impact that financial exploitation can have on the health and well-being of the elderly. The CDC also recognizes the particular vulnerabilities of the elderly to exploitation as physical and cognitive abilities decline.

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Gold bullion

Monex Atlas precious metals investment scheme shut down by CFTC

September 7, 2017

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed an enforcement action in Illinois federal court against three Newport Beach, California companies — Monex Deposit Company, Monex Credit Company, and Newport Services Corporation — and their principals Louis Carabini and Michael Carabini. The CFTC Complaint charges the Defendants with defrauding thousands of retail customers nationwide out of hundreds of millions of dollars. This is one of the largest precious metals fraud cases in the history of the CFTC. The CFTC alleges that Monex misrepresented the “Atlas” program as a safe, secure and profitable way to invest in precious metals, even though nearly everyone who invested in Atlas over a period of six years lost money. According to the CFTC, over 12,000 trading accounts were used to place leveraged precious metals trades resulting in more than $290 million in customer losses between July 2011 and March 2017. According to the CFTC, Monex employed high-pressure sales tactics, systematically downplayed the risks associated with the Atlas program, and falsely promised customers that Monex would act as the customers’ fiduciary and would always act in those customers’ best interests.The Complaint also alleges that Monex failed to register as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) as required by the Commodity Exchange Act. The CFTC is seeking preliminary injunctive relief to enjoin Monex from continuing to market the Atlas program to retail customers, and appointment of a monitor over Monex for the Atlas trading accounts. http://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/pr7609-17

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Connecticut financial advisor defrauds elderly investors

September 1, 2017

Investors who scrimped and saved for retirement can lose it all to financial advisors who hold themselves out as trustworthy advisors acting in the investor’s interest. In one recent case, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Connecticut-based broker representative and investment adviser Leon Vaccarelli and his company with fraudulently persuading several elderly customers to invest with him and then spending their money on his own living and business expenses. The SEC’s complaint alleges that instead of investing the customers’ money, Vaccarelli deposited customer funds into his personal and business bank accounts. He allegedly commingled the funds with his own money and used them for his own purposes, and in some instances he used customer funds to pay returns to earlier investors. According to the SEC’s complaint, Vaccarelli asked one customer to sign an agreement that she would not provide certain information to FINRA or the SEC. Customers are alleged to have lost more than one million dollars. While the SEC, FINRA (formerly NASD), and state securities regulators bring enforcement actions to shut down frauds, their focus is not recovering losses for investors. If you want to recover investment losses, you should hire a lawyer. Even if there is a class action pending, you should consult with a lawyer to determine whether you could get a better recovery by opting out of the class and pursuing your losses in your own case. https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2017/lr23927.htm

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