Only one out of every 44 cases of financial abuse among the elderly ever gets reported and even fewer make it to trial. This is the true story of one of those cases.
This story starts with the death of a woman’s son in Afghanistan. Following his tragic passing, the government paid her more than $500,000 in death benefits. So, she took the money to a broker and told him that it was everything she had for retirement and, in addition, she wanted to access about half of it to buy a home with her daughter. The broker, after listening to her story, placed the money in securities called Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) and Limited Partnerships.
The securities paid a dividend for about two years. And then the dividends got smaller. And smaller. Finally, when she wanted to cash out half of her money, the investments that she was in prevented her from doing so.
Sensing something was seriously wrong, she sought out legal representation. Her situation was identified as textbook securities fraud, and after a settlement she won back her finances.
Before approaching an advisor to invest your money, you should check for any past disciplinary actions against them by calling the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs at 808-586-2744, or using the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck website, http://brokercheck.finra.org/
If you suspect you are a victim of securities fraud, seek out a legal firm that includes a practice specializing in that area.