Elder Financial Exploitation Attorney Fighting to Protect the Elderly
Financial exploitation of the elderly is a growing problem and one of the most common types of elder abuse. If you’ve been exploited financially – or if it’s happened to an elderly person you love – discuss your situation at once with an experienced elder financial exploitation attorney.
Sadly, elderly financial exploitation often goes unreported. It’s non-violent, and victims are afraid this might be used to take away their independence. If you’ve been exploited this way, or if it’s happened to someone you love, don’t be intimidated. An attorney who has experience recovering losses from elder financial exploitation can help you. Old and young investors are taken advantage of by financial advisors. The fact that a victim is elderly does not mean that the victim is not capable of handling their own finances.
Attorney Lisa Bragança aggressively represents older investors who have been the victims of financial misconduct. She is particularly committed to helping older adults take the appropriate action against brokers and investment advisors who financially exploit the elderly.
What Constitutes Elder Financial Exploitation?
Elder financial exploitation is any illegal use of an elderly person’s money, property, or other assets. Financial exploitation of the elderly includes but is not limited to:
- deceiving or coercing someone into signing a financial document
- forgery of signatures
- making bank withdrawals or cashing checks without authorization
- recommending risky and unsuitable investments
Elder financial exploitation can happen in almost any setting – in a hospital or in a broker’s office.
The one consistent theme in these cases is that the person responsible for elder financial exploitation is usually someone that the elderly victim trusts like a family member or a trusted financial advisor. What makes this conduct so egregious is that it is a breach of trust.
What Schemes Are Used to Exploit the Elderly Financially?
A great deal of serious exploitation happens when financial professionals exploit trusting older investors who have saved their entire lives to provide for themselves and their families. Financial professionals are in a privileged position to know who has assets and might be vulnerable.
Despite the fiduciary relationship they have with these clients, they still may succumb to the temptation to take advantage of a client. In some cases, their conduct is outright fraud. In other cases, their conduct violates numerous FINRA rules and laws that apply to financial professionals. Some products that may signal elder financial exploitation include:
- Risky Investments: Financial advisors often recommend that older customers purchase non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil and gas limited partnerships, private placements, and other unsuitable risky investments. Funds can be locked up for years, making them unavailable if the investor has a pressing need. Older investors cannot sustain losses in these types of investments the way that younger investors can. They do not have years of earning years ahead of them. These types of products are particularly attractive to financial advisors because they pay hefty upfront commissions.
- Unsuitable Annuities: The terms of some variable annuities and fixed indexed annuities are so complicated that they may not be understood by the selling financial professional, much less an older investor. These annuities can lock up substantial funds for 15-20 years or more. Older investors are encouraged to purchase unsuitable annuities that earn their “advisor” a big fat larger commission.
Is It Possible to Recover Losses From a Financial Advisor for Elder Financial Exploitation?
In order to recover losses from a financial advisor, you generally have to file an arbitration claim. If you check the small print on the back of your account statement, you can see whether it contains a provision requiring that all disputes you may have with your advisor and his firm must be settled through arbitration. Often there will be a requirement that you bring arbitration claims with the AAA (American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS (Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services), or FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). FINRA is the brokerage industry self-regulatory organization responsible for enforcing FINRA rules and securities laws. FINRA also examines broker-dealers, and registers broker-dealers and their registered representatives.
Customer disputes that are filed with FINRA Dispute Resolution may be heard by one to three arbitrators. The decision of the arbitration panel is ordinarily final and cannot be appealed. If you have an account with an investment advisory firm, you are generally required to bring claims for losses to arbitration conducted by either AAA or JAMS. Customer disputes that are filed with AAA or JAMS may be heard by one to three arbitrators. AAA and JAMS have their own procedural rules, but the decision of one of these arbitration panels is ordinarily final and cannot be appealed.
Claims against insurance companies, issuers of securities, and others sometimes can be filed in a court of law.
What Can Family Members Do to Help?
If an elderly loved one starts handling his or her accounts differently, abruptly making large withdrawals, or adding names to his or her accounts, these may be signs of financial exploitation. Try to understand your elderly loved one’s best interests, needs, and financial circumstances.
As a former Branch Chief in the Division of Enforcement of the Chicago Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, attorney Lisa Bragança has handled scores of financial investigations. She is passionately committed to defending the rights of the elderly.
Attorney Lisa Bragança has the extensive legal background and the experience to represent effectively the victims of elder financial exploitation, and she is able to do that in all fifty states.
Here’s How to Arrange a Legal Consultation
If your case involves elder financial exploitation, you can schedule a free legal consultation with attorney Lisa Bragança by calling Bragança Law LLC – at 847-906-3460 – or by completing the contact form here on our website.
There is no excuse for elder financial exploitation. If you or your elderly loved one has been financially exploited, you can take the appropriate action with the help of an experienced elder financial exploitation attorney.