How to Determine if Someone is a Victim of Elder Financial Fraud?
Elder financial fraud is most often detected by family members, professionals and healthcare providers. Family members can monitor changes in their parents’ relationships. Tax advisors review changes in financial activities detailed in tax returns such as use of margin, high turnover and unexplained capital losses. Estate planning attorneys can ascertain changes in beneficiary, power of attorney and ownership designations which can be revealed through regular estate audits. Healthcare professionals have more constant contact with the elderly clients with knowledge of health status, use of medications and any signs of dementia. Clearly, professionals who have proximity and access to an elderly person are professionally and ethically charged to actively protect those who are least capable of protecting themselves, their elderly clients.
Family members, professionals and healthcare providers who believe that a risk of financial fraud exists need to communicate the concerns to the elderly person. The inquiry involves confidential information which requires permission from the elderly client and/or their representative to act on their behalf. A first step might include checking public records maintained by regulators designed to protect the public. A review of public information sources includes the following:
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
In the interest of protecting the investing public, FINRA publishes information about every registered financial advisor’s employment background which discloses customer complaints and his current broker dealer affiliation. Go to FINRA broker check to learn about your financial advisor’s employment history and whether there are any customer complaints.
North American Securities Administrators (NASAA)
In the interest of protecting public, NASAA publishes information about financial advisors and agents at the state level for activities conducted in their respective states. State securities regulator information can be found at the website of the North American Securities Administrators Association.
Elder Financial Fraud Law Firm
Klayman & Toskes, P.A. is dedicated to the rights of elderly investors and their families. 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 they:
- 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.
Elderly investors are frequently targeted for investment/securities fraud, including Ponzi schemes. Unethical financial advisors many times give the appearance of legitimacy by promoting an investment/security through various methods to unwary or unsophisticated investors. In some instances, financial advisors who offer “free” lunch seminars, use misleading professional designations, and peddle complex bundled financial and equity-index annuity products which many seniors cannot understand.